West Palm Beach leaders urge residents to prepare for hurricane season

West Palm Beach leaders urge residents to prepare for hurricane season

With just days to go until the official start of hurricane season, West Palm Beach leaders on Thursday urged residents and business owners to get prepared now.

"Getting prepared, gathering supplies, and staying informed are just a few of the steps you can take now to prepare for hurricane season," Mayor Keith James said.

The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season starts on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting an above-average season with 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or greater.

James called complacency a "real danger" during hurricane season.

"The bottom line is we all must take hurricane season very, very seriously," James said. "The actions you take now can save lives."

To prepare, officials said you should know your evacuation zone and where to go if you have to leave your home.

Also, prepare your hurricane kit now with enough water, medications, and other necessary supplies for you and your family to last at least 72 hours.

In addition, make sure your insurance coverage is up-to-date.

"Make an emergency plan. Make sure everyone in your household knows what the plan is and where to go in case of an emergency," said Brent Bloomfield, the assistant chief of West Palm Beach Fire Rescue.

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To help residents prepare for hurricane season, Florida's 10-day "Disaster Preparedness Tax Holiday" will start on Friday and run through June 6.

During those dates, specific disaster preparedness items will be tax-free including:

  • Reusable ice that's $20 or less
  • Flashlights that are $40 or less
  • Batteries, portable radios, and gas and diesel fuel tanks that are $50 or less
  • Coolers and portable power banks that are $60 or less
  • Tarps and ground anchor systems or tie-down kits that are $100 or less
  • Generators up to $1,000

"Hurricane season is basically upon us," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference last week. "We're anticipating to it to be a relatively active season, and Floridians should just understand that this is something that we may have to deal with. So it's best to be prepared."

While the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn't officially start until next Tuesday, we've already had one named storm form this year.

Subtropical Storm Ana formed early Saturday near Bermuda.

This marks the seventh consecutive year that a named storm has developed before the official start of hurricane season.

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