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Officials urge South Florida residents to prepare for upcoming hurricane season

MIAMI - Federal, State and Local officials met with U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz to go over how officials are preparing for hurricane season which kicks off June 1st.

Wasserman Shultz met with representatives of NOAA, FEMA, American Red Cross, FPL, the National Weather Service, as well as county officials to discuss how their agencies have prepared for hurricane season, and what other steps need to be taken.

The top issue officials wanted to highlight is making sure residents are prepared, and they added the number one thing on everyone's list should be knowing what your insurance covers and finding out if you're fully covered.

During the meeting the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Kevin Guthrie, told Wasserman Shultz that on average FEMA only pays out $4,000 in disaster aid, and the maximum amount given for claims is $72,000. Guthrie urges residents, especially homeowners to look at their policies so that they are aware of what it covers.

To help residents prepare The DISASTER PREPAREDNESS SALES TAX HOLIDAY was extended to 14 days. Starting tomorrow, May 28th, hurricane supplies will be tax free through June 10th.

This year the sales tax holiday was extended to include pet supplies, such as dry and wet food, cat litter, and kennels among other items.

Meanwhile, federal forecasters are anticipating a very busy hurricane season. NOAA estimates upwards of 21 named storms and as many as 10 hurricanes may develop during the season, which is 3 more hurricanes than an average season.

"The cone it is the most looked at graphic or map on the hurricane centers website, so the cone is good in the scene that it tells you, based on those average forecasts errors, where the center of the storm is more likely to be. But the cone is only dealing with the center of the storm, it does not take into account the size of the storm," said Robert Molleda, National Weather Service.

Officials urge residents to use the tax holiday to prepare their supply kits. Each kit should include enough items for at least 7 days for each person in the household, which includes one gallon of water per person, per day. 

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