June 1 marks the start of the 2017 hurricane season and federal forecasters say you better hold onto your hats and get prepared for a potentially active season in the Atlantic.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an 80 percent chance of a normal to busier than normal season.
NOAA is predicting the 2017 season could produce 11 to 17 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. It’s expected that 5 to 9 of those storms will become hurricanes producing winds of 74 mph or greater, with 2 to 4 of those hurricanes becoming major. A major hurricane is considered a category 3 or higher storm with winds of 111 mph or greater.
“The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region,” said Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead hurricane forecaster.
Sales Tax Holiday
The state wants residents to prepare for the potential of an active hurricane season.
To motivate Floridians to stock up on disaster preparedness supplies, the state is offering a sales tax holiday this weekend, June 2-4.
The tax holiday is expected to save Floridians $4.5 million on emergency supplies. It covers items like flashlights, batteries, portable generators that cost $750 or less and other products that Floridians usually stock up on in preparation for the hurricane season.
The last thing you want to discover after a storm blows through and damages your property is that you don’t have adequate insurance coverage.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater urges all Floridians to review all insurance policies to ensure they have proper coverage on their homes, cars and belongings. Atwater says the common reasons that insurance claims get held up are lack of adequate coverage and insufficient documentation or proof of damage.
The CFO’s office offers a toll-free insurance hotline that connects Floridians who have questions about their policies to insurance experts. The number is: 1-877-693-5236.
“Getting back on your fee following a storm can be a stressful state of affairs, but I hope that having free and ready access to insurance expertise can help the recovery process run more efficiently for Florida families,” said Atwater. “All Floridians should keep the helpline phone number on their emergency contact list and inside their family’s hurricane kit.”
Florida enters the new hurricane season in the best financial situation ever as far as the insurance market goes.
The state’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund–known as the Cat Fund– is designed to help private insurers pay claims in the event that a major hurricane hits Florida.
The state has $17.6 billion available to the Cat Fund, more than the $17 billion dollar maximum liability the fund would face in the event of a major storm. The fund has grown largely due to the fact Florida has been spared from hurricanes over the past decade
“The Cat Fund is healthy, and that is due both to good luck in the absence of major storms and good planning by the Fund’s administrators,” added Lynne McChristian, the Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute. . “As long-time Floridians know, it only takes one big storm to throw everything out of whack.”
Florida hopes the 2017 hurricane season doesn’t throw anything out of whack.