Monday, May 31, 2010

Last Day of Hurricane Preparedness Tax Break

The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins tomorrow, Tuesday, June 1. Today is the last day you can take advantage of the sales tax break on emergency supplies you might need during a tropical event in the Commonwealth. You can get free sales tax on everything from bottled water to batteries to first aid supplies. For a full list of sales tax exempt items, click here.

The CBS 6 Storm Team is calling for an above average hurricane season as a result of a weakening El Nino and warmer-than-average ocean surface temperatures in the Atlantic Basin. El Nino, which has been ongoing since last April, weakened in the last few months. El Nino can create atmospheric shear (different wind speeds and directions at different heights above ground) that can tear apart an organizing storm and prevent it from strengthening further. This seems to be what happened last hurricane season to much of the tropical activity, leading to a slightly below-average season with only one storm impacting the U.S. mainland. In addition, surface ocean temperatures are warmer-than-average, and thus primed to serve as fuel for tropical thunderstorm development. Hurricanes derive their energy from warm ocean waters, and strengthen when they pass over warmer ocean water.

(Richmond, VA during Gaston on August 29, 2004)
Virginia's tropical threats include inland flooding from heavy rain, wind damage, and tornadoes. It is important to prepare now for tropical impacts in the Commonwealth. Make sure you have enough food and water supplies for each member of your household for at least three days. Many of us remember losing power for days, even weeks, after Isabel in September 2003. Gaston from August 2004 is a perfect example of the inland flooding threat, as much of metro Richmond sustained major flash flooding. Ivan from September 2004 is the best example of the tornado threat from a landfalling tropical system, as 40 tornadoes were reported in a single day on September 17 as the tropical depression tracked through Virginia. This is the most tornadoes, of any time of the year, recorded in a single day in Virginia. Prepare now for Hurricane Season 2010.

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