Utilize severe weather tax holiday

Published 11:01pm Friday, February 22, 2013

Alabama is known for it’s crazy weather, which is something I both love and hate. It can be raining in the morning, scorching hot in the afternoon and come nightfall gusty, cold winds can leave people not only confused about what to wear, but confused as to what season they are in.

But I guess that’s just Alabama weather. After all, they say if you don’t like the weather in Alabama, just wait an hour or so and you’ll get something different and I think that’s something we can all agree on, especially with the weather we’ve seen in Selma the past few weeks.

Severe weather season is almost upon us and it is something we shouldn’t take lightly. Everyone thinks of “tornado alley” as areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska and Kansas, but Alabamians know another story. It seems to me like almost every time it rains and I turn on my TV or search the web for the latest Doppler radar to check the weather, some area of our state — is highlighted in the scary, red, meaning tornados are near.

And every time I see those bits of red, yellow and green move across the screen I think for a moment about where I was on April 27, 2011. I was a senior in college at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and like most students I didn’t have a weather radio, a flashlight or even think twice about the tornado sirens. (That has all since changed.)

My parents however, who live in Birmingham, did have those severe weather preparedness items and gave me a call to let me know things were serious — that it wasn’t just Alabama’s typical inclement weather.

I will never forget the traumatic, devastating events that took place that afternoon when an F-4 tornado ripped through the heart of Tuscaloosa, just blocks from my apartment, or the emotions and cleanup that came in the weeks that followed. However, one thing that always stands out about that day is the fact that I was not prepared, and that phone call from my dad may have helped keep me safe.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s Tornado Recovery Action Council recommended a statewide severe weather preparedness tax break following the April 27, 2011 outbreak.

That tax holiday was approved and is taking place this weekend, Feb. 22 through Feb. 24, and we need to take advantage of it.

The purpose of the tax break Gov. Bentley said, is to help people be prepared for the severe weather season that is almost upon us.

So whether it’s batteries for flashlights, first aid kits, duct tape, plywood or food and water containers — this weekend is the best time to prepare you and your family for the severe weather we all know will come.

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