Hurricane Irma has laid waste in its path across the Atlantic, and it appears as if she is a long way from being finished. As of 9:00 AM ET, at least 18 people have been killed, in this storm, throughout the Caribbeans. She just leveled the Turks and Caicos and appears to be headed on the expected path, towards Miami, Florida.

Irma is a downgraded but dangerous Category 4 storm

Irma has been downgraded to a Category 4 storm, but don’t let that deceive you! She is still a “very dangerous” hurricane. She currently has sustained maximum winds of 150 miles per hour. With the warm waters before her, we can only hope that she remains a four or downgrades further before slamming into Florida.

Thus far, Irma has pummeled Barbuda, St Maarten, and Puerto Rico leaving thousands powerless, and many dead. The Red Cross already has the figures at 1.2 million people who have been adversely affected by Irma. They warned that she is still very dangerous and unpredictable. She poses a threat to millions more.

Reports as early as Thursday claimed Irma had taken the lives of seven people. Officials warned that the toll could rise. Unfortunately, and as feared, it did and could very well continue. It’s not over.

Irma is expected to arrive in The Keys and South Florida by Saturday evening. The FEMA administrator warned of the scope of the storm saying, “I can guarantee you that I don’t know anybody in Florida that’s ever experienced what’s about to hit South Florida.” Evacuations have been ongoing, and extremely difficult with no more gas at many pumps and lines of cars stretching down the highway, waiting for what gas remained.

Delta, United, American Airlines price gouging during gas shortages

Many airlines capped fares starting from $99 on Friday. This occurred after several of them got called out for Price Gouging. In case anyone is still in the dark, price gouging is a crime. Delta, United, and American were some of those airlines accused of price gouging by Florida residents fleeing the storm.

According to one woman, Delta apparently increased their ticket prices as much as $2711. This was a jump from the regular ticket price of $547.50 to a whopping $3258.50. Delta later apologized for the “misquote” calling the error a computer glitch and fixing their rates at $399.

American and JetBlue both capped their fares at $99 one way.

Much gentler than Delta’s $399. JetBlue spokesman, Phillip Stewart, in a statement to the Miami Herald, said, “We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights.”

As of 2016, at least 34 states have enacted price gouging laws. And a few of those states impose criminal charges on top of the civil liability once a business is found guilty of price gouging. So, this should be a learning experience for many people.

When the chips are down, corporations will gut you if they have the chance and no one is looking. The laws we have against it just might not carry harsh enough penalties. People that are unable to evacuate often die or suffer greatly.

Price gouging is vastly more than simply a civil crime. My thoughts are with my fellow Americans. Your nation holds its breath.

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