Hurricane season kicks off

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Thursday is the first day of hurricane season and the National Weather Service is expecting another active storm season.

And with the hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday beginning Friday now is the time to begin getting ready.

Last year saw the two hurricanes hit Florida. It was the first time storms have made landfall since 2005.

Forecasters are predicting as many as 17 named storms this year and experts say now is the time to prepare.

"I think folks had a very good refresher last year that Florida is a very hurricane-prone state. As we move forward we know it's just a matter of time before we get another hurricane landfall in the state of Florida," said Kelly Godsey with the National Weather Service.

Beginning Friday, Floridians can shop for hurricane supplies tax-free. The sales tax holiday runs through Sunday.

Flashlights, batteries, and power generators are among the items included in the tax-free holiday. Power generators can't cost more than $750 and flashlights can't cost over $20.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes says the tax-free weekend is a perfect opportunity to get supplies early.

"So, when a storm does come, you know you're not waiting until it's three or four days off the coast, and then you're frantically trying to get everything together. Do it now," advised the Alliance's Mike Rimoldi

The National Weather Service says this time of year is also when people should be thinking about coming up with a plan for if a storm hits.

"Know if you're in an evacuation zone. Learn where you are, learn where the flood risk is so that if an evacuation is ordered, you know when you need to leave and where you're going to go. And have that all planned out before the hurricane approaches," said Godsey.

To make sure residents have a way to stay informed, weather radios under $50 will also be tax exempt this weekend.

Floridians are expected to save $4.5 million over the course of the weekend. A full list of exempt items can be found at the Florida Department of Revenue's website.