WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Thursday marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which is expected to bring normal to above-normal storms.

According to the National Hurricane Center’s Acting Director Ed Rappaport, forecast simulations have already begun. “The seasonal forecasts from NOAA this year has a likelihood of a near to above-normal amount of activity for the Atlantic Basin,” said Rappaport.

However, Rappaport added, it remains unknown exactly who’s at risk. “We have to remember that the number of storms doesn’t necessarily tell us who’s at risk. The science hasn’t come far enough yet to know where those storms are gonna go.”

The outlook for this season already predicts 45 percent of the storms will be above normal, with 11 to 17 named storms expected, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes.

Officials see early preparations as a good thing and encourage Floridians to make sure they have enough supplies. “It’s better to have those now and those ideas in place and ready before the storm approaches,” said Rappaport.

From June 2 through June 4, there will be a sales tax holiday on all supplies, including batteries, flashlights, weather radios and other essentials.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly were at the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade, Thursday, to talk about the importance of being ready for hurricane season.

“It only takes one hurricane to change a life forever,” said Kelly. “A once-in-a-lifetime storm can happen at any time, in any year. We can’t stop hurricanes, but we can prepare for them. Department of Homeland Security and FEMA are working closely with all state, local and federal partners to help prepare American communities for this year’s hurricane season.”

“If a first responder couldn’t get to you for three days,” said Scott, “what should you have? Medicine. You should have a plan. You should have an all hazards radio. You should have a battery-operated or hand-powered radio. All these things. Canned goods, things that are not gonna perish in case you lose your power.”

New this year, the National Weather Service will issue storm surge warnings. Storm surge is the number one cause of death due to hurricanes.

From June 2 through June 4, Florida will hold its disaster preparedness sales tax holiday.

Items that qualify include flashlights costing $20 or less, batteries, radios that don’t cost more than $50, some portable generators and other essentials. CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE LIST OF ITEMS THAT WILL BE TAX-FREE.

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