For the second time in a week, the entire state of Alabama is being placed under a state of emergency. Ice accumulations from .25 to .30 of an inch are expected as well as sleet accumulations of up to a half-inch between 3 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday in north Alabama as part of Winter Storm Thor, the National Weather Service said Wednesday. The ice buildup on roads is expected to result in widespread hazardous traveling conditions.
Gov. Robert Bentley issued the emergency declaration Wednesday afternoon March 4, but it doesn’t become effective until the first minute of Thursday, March 5.
The previous emergency declaration was issued at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, Snow, from one to almost 13 inches, fell Feb. 25 in 27 north Alabama counties.
When Alabama experiences a state of emergency, Alabama’s price gouging law is in effect.
ALABAMA’S PRICE GOUGING LAW: Makes it unlawful for anyone to raise prices on commodities or lodging by more than 25 percent during the declared state of emergency. To avoid violating Alabama’s price gouging law, figure the price charged for each of the previous 30 days. Add the 30 daily prices, divide by 30, and multiply the price by .25, or 25 percent, to figure the maximum price increase allowed for any one day. The exception is if a wholesale price increases by more than 25 percent and merchants have no choice but to pass along the price increase.
The fine for violating Alabama’s price gouging law can be up to $1,000 per incident. Those who willfully and continually violate the law can be banned from doing business in Alabama.
The emergency proclamation allows truck drivers delivering disaster-related supplies and goods to exceed the hours of service or spend less time off duty than required by federal law. The waiver only applies to the time a driver is delivering the disaster supplies for up to five days after the emergency declaration, or until the declaration ends. Under federal law, a driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The proclamation loosens that regulation only as it relates to the timely delivery of disaster supplies for the five days after the emergency declaration.
The main site for the latest road and bridge closures and openings can be found at Alabama Department of Transportation Road Conditions. You can print off reports for counties where you operate from that site and it is updated regularly. Because of the volume of usage, the site may be slow to respond.
Early March 5, ALDOT activated its Emergency Call Center. Call 888-588-2848 for information on conditions of Alabama’s state, U.S. and interstate highways.
OVERWEIGHT OR OVERSIZE LOADS
For information on permitting related to oversize or overweight loads, contact the Alabama Department of Transportation’s Vehicle Enforcement Office from 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. CST Monday – Friday.
- For medical and life-threatening emergencies, dial 9-1-1.
- Drivers can report an accident or other emergencies to state troopers by dialing *HP on their cellular devices.
- Businesses that want to know how to help or donate to relief efforts, call 2-1-1.
Visit Alabama Retail’s Emergency Preparedness page for other links to the state’s emergency management resources.
Photo caption: Traffic backs up in Birmingham during a January 2014 snow storm that brought portions of that area to a standstill for days. Photo by Hal Yeager.