In preparing for Tropical Depression 9, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order declaring a “state of emergency” for 24 Florida counties in the potential path of the coming storm.
DeSantis also asked for a “federal pre-landfall emergency declaration” to make key resources and support available to the state from the federal government. It requires the approval of President Biden.
The governor’s emergency order means members of the Florida National Guard will be activated and on standby.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”
The administration urged Floridians to visit floridadisaster.org/planprepare to get ready for the storm.
Here are the counties under “state of emergency”:
- Indian River
- Palm Beach
- St. Lucie
Attorney General Ashley Moody said Friday she activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline in anticipation of Tropical Depression Nine striking the state.
The hotline can be used by Floridians to report instances of severe price increases on “essential commodities” needed to prepare for the storm, she said. It only applies to commodities and services essential to preparing for, or recovering from, a storm within the areas of a declared state of emergency.
“If anyone suspects price gouging, report it to my office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM, filing online at MyFloridaLegal.com or using our free No Scam reporting app,” she said in a statement.
State law prohibits excessive increases in the price of essential commodities that include food, water, hotel rooms, ice, gasoline, lumber, equipment and storm-related services needed as a direct result of the event, according to Moody.
Violators of the price gouging laws are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period. It’s also a crime to sell goods and services to the public without possession of a business tax receipt.
Sen. Rick Scott, who was ubiquitous during Florida storms when he was governor, issued a statement Friday afternoon warning Floridians to make immediate preparations for Tropical Depression 9.
“Every Floridian needs to stay alert and take this storm seriously,” he said. “If a major hurricane hits Florida, it could be absolutely devastating.
“We know how quickly severe weather can change and even though the current National Hurricane Center forecast has a potential landfall days from now, it cannot be ignored,” he said.
His U.S. Senate office created a hurricane preparedness website.
Scott said he would be receiving regular briefings from National Weather Service Director Ken Graham and that his staff would be relaying information to local and state officials throughout the state.
Said Scott: “Right now, my message to all Floridians is simple: get prepared.”