Offshore oil and gas operators evacuated more than 50 platforms and rigs yesterday as Tropical Storm Gordon approached the Gulf of Mexico, CBS News reports. The storm, which made landfall near the Alabama-Mississippi border, brought 70-mph winds, several inches of rain and reports of isolated tornadoes, but is weakening as it moves inland. The National Hurricane Center is now watching Hurricane Florence, a Category 2 hurricane moving over the open Atlantic.
In anticipation of Gordon, three states—Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi—declared states of emergency earlier this week. These declarations trigger hours of service waivers that can last up to 30 days for the affected areas. The Alabama declaration covers Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe and Washington counties and is in effect for 30 days. Louisiana’s declaration lasts until October 3. Mississippi’s declaration does not state an end date, but the related hours of service waiver cannot last longer than 30 days unless it is extended by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Elsewhere in the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration extended an emergency declaration issued in response to wildfires, covering California, Oregon and Washington states. The declaration, which includes waiving hours of service for drivers providing “direct assistance” to the emergency, will now be in effect until October 1. And in response to flooding in Wisconsin, the governor issued an emergency declaration covering Dane, Fond du Lac, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon and Washington counties. An hours of service waiver for drivers providing “direct assistance” is triggered by the declaration for 30 days.
September is National Preparedness Month. For convenience retailers, preparing ahead of a storm can be crucial to staying open and in business for residents and emergency personnel. NACS has many resources to assist retailers in disaster preparedness, relief and recovery.