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    Retailers Should Brace for Active 2006 North Atlantic Hurricane Season: NOAA

    WASHINGTON -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said yesterday that a very active hurricane season is looming, and encouraged individuals to make preparations to better protect their lives and livelihoods. May 21-27 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

    WASHINGTON -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said yesterday that a very active hurricane season is looming, and encouraged individuals to make preparations to better protect their lives and livelihoods. May 21-27 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

    Among the retailers who are already preparing is national drug store chain CVS Corp., based in Woonsocket, R.I. CVS said yesterday that its stores have been stocked with hurricane preparedness items and other products to help in an emergency. CVS/pharmacy also stands ready to deploy mobile pharmacy units to hurricane-impacted areas if necessary.

    "Given the NOAA National Hurricane Center's advisory for the year, CVS/pharmacy is taking steps to prepare our stores and assist our customers," said Eileen Howard Dunn, v.p. of corporate communications and community relations at CVS/pharmacy in a statement.

    CVS/pharmacy is promoting its participation in Governor Jeb Bush's 2006 Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, happening May 21-June 1 in Florida. No state or local sales tax will be collected on essential hurricane preparedness items during this time period in Florida stores.

    During a news conference at the NOAA National Hurricane Center, deputy secretary of commerce David A. Sampson noted, "Preparation is the key message that President Bush wants to convey during National Hurricane Preparedness Week. The impact from these storms extends well beyond coastal areas, so it is vital that residents in hurricane-prone areas get ready in advance of the hurricane season."

    For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become "major" hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher.

    On average, the North Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. In 2005 the Atlantic hurricane season contained a record 28 storms, including 15 hurricanes. Seven of these hurricanes were considered major, of which a record four hit the United States.

    "Although NOAA is not forecasting a repeat of last year's season, the potential for hurricanes striking the U.S. is high," noted Conrad C. Lautenbacher, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and NOAA administrator.

    The North Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. NOAA will issue a midseason update in early August just prior to the normal August-through-October peak in activity.

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