Governor Glenn Youngkin has issued a state of emergency, triggering Virginia’s price-gouging laws ahead of heavy rain and gusty winds, remnants of Hurricane Ian, expected to hit Virginia beginning on Friday.
“In addition to making smart decisions and keeping up with news developments during a statewide emergency declaration, Virginians must also support each other during this potentially hazardous time,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a Thursday press release. “Any violations of Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act or exploitation of Virginians’ wallets will be thoroughly prosecuted through the Virginia Consumer Protection Act by my office. Bad actors will be held accountable.”
“Enacted in 2004, Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act prohibits a supplier from charging ‘unconscionable prices’ for ‘necessary goods and services’ during the thirty-day period following a declared state of emergency,” Miyares’ release explains. “The basic test for determining if a price is unconscionable is whether the post-disaster price grossly exceeds the price charged for the same or similar goods or services during the ten days immediately prior to the disaster.”
Items covered by the act include water, food, ice, generators, batteries, home repair materials, and tree removal.
Youngkin’s state of emergency, issued Wednesday, will allow Virginia to mobilize equipment for response and recovery.
“Virginians should be prepared for the potential of severe rainfall, flooding, wind damage, tornadoes, and other storm-related impacts,” the governor’s release said.
The center of the prediction cone for the remnants of the storm currently aims at western Virginia, although regions across Virginia are expected to see rain and the National Weather Service (NWS) is warning of one to two feet of flooding in some coastal areas.
“The remnants of Ian are expected to bring widespread moderate to heavy rainfall to southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina beginning late Friday, and continuing through the upcoming weekend. This may bring an increased risk for flash flooding, as well as flooding of poor drainage areas. Gusty winds will also be possible Friday night and Saturday, especially in higher terrain areas,” the NWS Blacksburg office warned Thursday evening.
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