As if you didn’t need a reminder that hurricane season is approaching — or is already here in an early form — Tropical Storm Bertha rapidly formed, lashing South Carolina with heavy rain and gusty winds.

Tropical storm information has been recorded since 1851. Two May storms isn’t common — it’s happened six times, the last two in 2012 and 2016. Storm and hurricane preparation is a way of life on the Outer Banks, and it should be a signal for us in Osceola County to prepare for the oncoming season which starts Monday. As in years past, Florida will hold the 2020 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday from tomorrow, Friday May 29, to next Thursday, June 4.

During the sales tax holiday period, as approved by the Florida Legislature this spring, qualifying items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from sales tax, so stock up on qualifying disaster preparedness supplies exempt from tax.

A state Tax Information Publication sheet has more information, including how to use coupons. Here is a list of what qualifies:

$10 or less

  • Reusable ice (reusable ice packs)

$20 or less

  • Portable, self-powered light source (powered by battery, solar, hand-crank, or gas)
  • Candles
  • Flashlights
  • Lanterns

$25 or less

  • Gas or diesel fuel container, including LP gas and kerosene containers

$30 or less

  • Batteries, including rechargeable batteries, listed sizes only (excluding automobile and boat batteries): AAA-cell, AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt and 9-volt
  • Coolers and ice chests (food-storage; nonelectrical)

$50 or less

  • Bungee cords
  • Ground anchor systems
  • Radios (powered by battery, solar, or handcrank) either Two-way or Weather band
  • Ratchet straps
  • Tarpaulins (tarps)
  • Tie-down kits
  • Visqueen, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible waterproof sheeting

$750 or less

  • Portable generators used to provide light or communications, or to preserve food in the event of a power outage