By Dan Shapley
In most states, tax-free shopping days serve two purposes â to give consumers a break and boost local politicians'' popularity. In Florida, there is a third: Hurricane season. Hurricane season officially begins June 1, though there has already been one named storm in what experts predict will be an unusually active season
. No one can say exactly how many or where hurricanes will make landfall, but forecasts say coastal areas ought to be on alert. In Florida, that means a break on purchases like batteries and extra jugs of water that people may need to weather an intense storm. Paying for the costs of hurricane damage is already a hot topic, with insurers boosting premiums â or denying coverage â in coastal areas, increasingly, out of longterm concerns over sea-level rise, coastal erosion, more frequent or intense storms and other consequences of global warming that could conspire to drive up damage claims. While sea level rise is a near-certainty in a warming world â how much the sea rises is the question â scientists are still debating
the effects of the changing climate on storm frequency and intensity. In Florida, and other areas on the Atlantic storm track, the reality â regardless of future conditions â is very near and present, according to a story in the May 29 South Florida Sun-Sentinel.