From Friday, Feb. 26 to Sunday, Feb. 28, Alabama will observe the state’s 10th annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.

The Alabama Retail Association encourages Alabamians to restock emergency supplies in homes, workplaces and vehicles during the three-day tax holiday. Certain emergency preparedness items will be exempt from the state’s four-cent state sales tax, and in some cities and counties, local taxes are waived on those items as well.

The tax holiday means shoppers can save as much as 10% on these items in some areas of the state. Scottsboro and Jackson County are participating in the sales tax holiday.

From 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 26 to midnight Feb. 28, the tax-exempt items include the following priced at $60 or less: flashlights, battery-powered or hand-crank radios, batteries, first-aid kits, cell phone charger, two-way radios, manual can openers, tarps and plastic sheeting, duct tape, fire extinguishers and tie-down kits, bungee cords or rope.

Other tax-free items include: coolers, ice packs, plywood, window film and smoke/fire carbon monoxide detectors. Portable generators and power cords costing $1,000 or less are also tax free.

“Severe weather can occur at any time, in any season,” said Alabama Retail President Rick Brown. “The tax holiday helps Alabama consumers remember to stock and prepare emergency kits to be ready when storms strike.”

More often, though, consumers tend to wait until an emergency occurs to get needed supplies. In the final months of 2020, Andrews ACE Hardware in Chatom sold more than 100 generators, said John Odom, who with his brother, Eric, and father, Cat, own the 83-year-old Washington County store.

“We were threatened by Hurricane Laura in August and sold a bunch then and when Zeta came through in October, we sold even more,” he said.

Zeta caused damage in 19 counties. In September, Hurricane Sally made landfall in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since Ivan in 2004. The state experienced 73 tornadoes in 2020.

Already in 2021, a Jan. 24 tornado in Fultondale damaged more than 60 businesses and almost 300 homes. The state has already experienced its first winter storm emergency of the year.

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