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Only 3 more days to stock up

Virginia residents have three more days to stock up on their hurricane preparedness supplies tax-free.

The Virginia Department of Taxation is holding a hurricane supply sales tax holiday on generators that cost $1,000 or less, and other supplies costing $60 or less, through midnight on May 31.

While the Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be about normal this year, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration caution against being unprepared.

“Prepare for each and every season, regardless of the seasonal outlook,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a news release issued last week. “Even a near- or below-normal season can produce landfalling hurricanes, and it only takes one landfalling storm to make it a bad season.”

The Climate Prediction Center predicts that there is a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes. The center cannot predict when or where a storm will make landfall until it forms.

The hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until June 1, but a tropical depression already has formed off the coast of Virginia. It is not, however, expected to make landfall.

Virginia residents should be prepared for the possibility of a hurricane by stocking up on supplies, which they can do tax-free at retailers throughout the state until midnight on Sunday. Such supplies as batteries, flashlights, can openers, weather band radios, cell phone chargers and first-aid kits will be sold without the 5 percent sales tax, as long as they cost $60 or less.

In addition, generators, generator power cords, inverters and inverter power cables will be sold tax-free as long as they cost $1,000 or less. All retailers that sell the items must participate in the sales tax holiday.

The following items are included in the sales tax holiday if they cost $60 or less:

Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs and reusable ice

Batteries (excluding automobile or boat batteries), including AAA, AA, C, D, 6 volt, 9 volt or cell phone batteries

Any portable self-powered light sources, including flashlights, lanterns and glow sticks

Tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible waterproof sheeting

Bungee cords and rope

Ground anchor systems or tie-down kits

Ratchet straps

Duct tape

Carbon monoxide detectors

Smoke detectors

Fire extinguishers

Gas or diesel fuel tanks or containers

Water storage containers

Nonelectric food storage coolers

Bottled water, including flavored and carbonated

Can openers, including manual and battery-powered

Portable self-powered radios (including self-powered radios with electrical power capability)

Two-way radios

Weather-band radios and NOAA weather radios

Storm shutter devices

Cell phone chargers

First aid kits

The following items are included if they cost $1,000 or less:

Portable generators and generator power cords

Inverters and inverter power cables

The Virginia Department of Taxation’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

Guidelines and Rules are available online at www.tax.virginia.gov/salestaxholiday.

For additional information on hurricane preparation, visit the Virginia Department of

Emergency Management website at www.vaemergency.com.