ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Businesses and residents in Florida rushed to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, which could become a dangerous Category 3 or higher storm before making landfall in the southeastern United States over Labor Day. Motorists lined up at gas stations and stocked up on supplies, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency and issued hours of service waivers for truck drivers to facilitate fuel deliveries.
Before, during and after the storm, residents and first responders alike rely on convenience stores and gas stations to be open so they can fill up their tanks, buy much-needed supplies of food, water and other goods and access cash via ATMs. NACS developed its “Stay Open in an Emergency" video and other resources to help convenience retailers develop or enhance their disaster planning procedures. The NACS Convenience Store Emergency Planning and Job Aid resources help convenience stores identify and enhance their resiliency as they plan, prepare and recover from a disaster.
AccuWeather meteorologists are forecasting Dorian to intensify into a major hurricane before making landfall as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane. AccuWeather predicts the storm will make landfall over the middle Atlantic coast of Florida.
Jeff Byard, an associate administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Associated Press that “This is going to be a big storm. We’re prepared for a big response.” He warned that the hurricane is likely to “create a lot of havoc with infrastructure, power and roads.”
Gov. DeSantis expanded a state of emergency declaration for all of the state’s 67 counties, up from 26 counties. The declaration triggers a waiver of federal hours of service requirements for up to 30 days. A link to the declaration is here. The governor said that starting Friday, Florida Highway Patrol vehicles will begin escorting fuel trucks in the state.
“All residents, especially those along the east coast, need to be prepared for possible impacts,” DeSantis said in a statement. He advised Floridians to have seven days of supplies on hand. “As it increases strength, this storm has the potential to severely damage homes, businesses and buildings, which is why all Floridians should remain vigilant. Do not wait until it is too late to make a plan.”
In Georgia, Gov. Brian P. Kemp Thursday declared a state of emergency in 12 counties to prepare for Hurricane Dorian. The counties include: Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce and Wayne. The executive order also prohibits price gouging and provides HOS waivers “to ensure the uninterrupted supply of petroleum products.” The order is valid for 11 days until September 9.
In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 to 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, including an HOS waiver for transportation of fuel for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The order will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency or until September 28. The agency also issued a Notice of Enforcement Discretion - Emergency Declaration indicating it won’t enforce certain operating registration fees during the emergency.
Separately, FMCSA on August 22 issued a regional declaration of emergency. The declaration, which covers Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska, was issued due to flooding and related issues in the states. The declaration includes an hours of service waiver for drivers delivering fuel that are directly responding to the emergency. The declaration is in effect until September 21. A link to the declaration is here.