The attorneys general of South Carolina and Florida implemented emergency measures banning retailers from jacking up prices on essentials — but not before David Orner of Mount Pleasant, S.C., watched as the owner of the gas station hiked the price by 25 cents a gallon.
"I looked over my shoulder and the price went up," Orner told NBC station WCBD of Charleston.
The roadblocks — real and economic — drive home the point that residents in hurricane-prone areas should always be prepared ahead of time. But most aren't, the AAA said.
As coastal residents of Virginia braced for the arrival of Matthew, AAA's Virginia affiliate released a survey Wednesday reporting that only 19 percent of respondents said they had adequate supplies of food, water and batteries on hand.
"Failure to have a family emergency plan for inclement weather can undoubtedly add unnecessary stress when a storms hits, especially if routine communication channels are down," said Martha Mitchell Meade, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The Red Cross issued a helpful all-in-one-page guide for people in the path of a hurricane, which you can download here (PDF):
Among the measures the Red Cross urges:
- Get a NOAA weather radio.
- Stock up on batteries to run radios and flashlights.
- Keep your vehicle's tank as close to full as possible.
- Create an evacuation plan — and practice it regularly.
- Always keep at least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable foods on hand, along with at least a week's worth of your prescription medications.
- Make copies of your vital personal documents — like medication lists, medical records, passports and insurance papers — and keep them with you.
"The Red Cross is getting ready in states all along the East Coast," said C. Lee Clark, regional chief operating officer for the Virginia Region of the Red Cross. "Residents should take this time to get ready, too."