Guide to getting ready for tornado season by tapping sales tax holiday Feb. 22-24

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Restock your emergency supplies during Alabama’s Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday February 22-24, 2019. (Photo by Christine Hull for Bham Now)

The statistics are in: According to the National Weather Service, Alabama is #1 in all-time annual tornado deaths. Find out what you can do to prepare for the 2019 tornado season. Plus, how to save in Birmingham during the state-wide Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday February 22-24, 2019.

Where To Save This Sales Tax Holiday

Governor Kay Ivey announced this week that Alabama will observe the states eighth annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday February 22-24, 2019. Also, we’ve got the details on what’s covered and how much you’ll save in Birmingham.

According to the Alabama Department of Revenue, the purpose of the sales tax holiday is for Alabamians to restock emergency supplies to prepare for the upcoming tornado season. The weekend caps off the end the weeklong Alabama Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which takes place Sunday, February 17th through Friday, February 22.

Tornado Safe Room.
Pro tip: If you’ve got a tornado shelter, vaccuum it out before Spring! So many bugs.

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

Alabama Retail President Rick Brown

Here in Jefferson County, the tax holiday is limited. As a result, you’ll only save 5 percent off of certain emergency preparedness items— 4 percent state sales tax and 1 percent Jefferson County’s sales and use tax.

Emergency Supplies
Emergency blankets, water and ponchos are all good ideas for your emergency kit. (Photo by Christine Hull for Bham Now)


Begins: 12:01 AM  Friday, February 22, 2019

Ends: Midnight Sunday,  February 24, 2019

You can also check out the Alabama Department of Revenue’s list of  2019 Participating Cities and Counties to see how other communities are participating in the tax-free weekend.

What’s Covered During The Tax-Free Weekend

Tax-exempt items priced at $60 or less include the following:

  • Flashlights, lanterns
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Batteries
  • First-aid kits
  • Cell phone charger
  • Two-way radios
  • Manual can openers
  • Tarps and plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Tie-down kits, bungee cords or rope
  • Coolers
  • Ice packs
  • Plywood
  • Window film
  • Smoke/fire/carbon monoxide detectors

You can also view the extended detailed list on the Alabama Department of Revenue website.

Also, portable generators and power cords costing $1,000 or less are tax free. This is a great time to get a portable

NWS says Alabama #1 in tornado fatalities in US

The National Weather Service stated that Alabama saw the most tornado related deaths nationwide in 2018.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service

Each year, the NWS declares a week in February at Severe Weather Awareness Week to help raise awareness and help fight against future tornado related injuries or deaths.

“ This week promotes the importance of reviewing all information concerning severe weather and its associated preparedness. Severe weather, including tornadoes, can occur at any time, day or night. In addition, tornadoes have occurred in every month of the year. Please remember, knowledge is power and this power could save you or your loved ones lives!”

The National Weather Service

The National Weather Service will focus on different topics each day for Severe Weather Awareness Week. Here’s the schedule:

Severe Weather Awareness Week Schedule. (Courtesy of the NWS)

For more information on the tax free weekend, contact the Alabama Department of Revenue Monday through Friday, 8 AM through 5 PM at
(334) 242-1490 or (866) 576-6531 or visit their website.

Are you ready for another tornado season, Birmingham? Let us know how you’re preparing in 2019. Email us at

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Christine Hull
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