For the first time, Floridians will get a second sales tax break on storm and disaster preparedness supplies.
The bonus sales tax holiday comes as we approach what is typically the most active part of the hurricane season.
On Thursday, the National Hurricane Center was monitoring a weather disturbance expected to move into the northwestern Caribbean this weekend and the eastern Gulf of Mexico next week.
Starting Saturday, August 26, and running through September 8, Floridians can stock up on select storm prep and household supplies tax-free.
Dozens of items from generators down to batteries, laundry detergent, toilet paper, and even pet supplies are tax-exempt both in-store and online over the two-week period.
While there is no limit on the number of qualifying items that can be purchased tax-free, the tax exemption only applies items that fall under certain price limits.
Click here for a full list of qualifying items.
"If people do not have their emergency plans done, this weekend is the perfect opportunity to make sure that they have that set in stone," Katja Miller, the Operations Section Chief with Hillsborough Co. Emergency Management, said.
Miller says people should take advantage of this tax holiday period to stock up their emergency kits and make sure they have plans in place in the event of a storm.
"We want people to take it seriously, and you know what, you get it done now, you’re set for the rest of the season," Miller said.
St. Petersburg Emergency Management says planning for hurricane season is a year round job, but staff are spending even more time preparing with the height of hurricane season looming.
"Whether it’s clearing the storm drains, lowering levels in our ponds, getting staff prepared and trained, and making sure they know their expectations, such as our staff here at the sandbag site," Amber Boulding, the Manager of St. Petersburg Emergency Management, said.
St. Petersburg’s full service sandbagging site at the Pavement and Traffic Operations Building at 1744 9th Ave. N. is extending its hours this weekend. It will be open Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"We know it doesn’t take a hurricane to flood our streets and potentially get water into our homes," Boulding said.
Boulding says residents should always be prepared and stay aware.
"Really, it’s taking a look at your situation," Boulding said. "What are your risks? Do you know you’re going to shelter in place, or are you going to evacuate? Those items that you need to buy are going to look different, depending on what that is. Do you have kids? Do you have animals?"
Boulding says if a major storm heads in our direction this season, they will open several self-service sandbagging sites in addition to its existing full service sites around the city.
"And if the storm doesn’t come, and we don’t have impacts next week, you’ve got your sandbags for the height of hurricane season, because if it’s not this storm, it’s still early," Boulding said.
Pasco County has also opened several self-service sandbagging sites at Pasco County Public Works (C-Barn), 30908 Warder Road, San Antonio and the Magnolia Valley Golf Course, 7223 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey.
Both sandbag locations are self-serve and are open 24 hours to Pasco County residents. Sand and sandbags will be restocked between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The county says you should bring a shovel and be prepared to fill your own sandbags.