‘I don’t play with that’: Floridians not taking any chances, rush to stock up on essentials
During the calm before the storm, Floridians were busy making all the necessary preparations by stocking up on food, toiletries – and sand in some cases – before Hurricane Ian’s arrival.
Residents along the west coast of Florida -- from Miami to Tallahassee -- have been rushing out to the supermarket and other stores to stock up on the basics ahead of Hurricane Ian.
“I’ve been through Andrew in the 1990s … and in 2003, 2004 when the three hurricanes hit all at once in Miami -- I’ve been through that, so I kind of want to prep,” Orlando resident Daisy Herrera told AccuWeather National Reporter Jillian Angeline Tuesday. “It’s been rough, but I want to always prepare with hurricanes because I don’t play with that.”
Herrera was stocking up on essentials like basic toiletries, cereal, canned goods, and other non-perishables and bread -- “necessities when it comes to hurricanes!” Many grocery store chains have been feeling the impact of the sudden rush, with shelves in area markets emptying out quickly.
Some markets, like Publix, have started placing limits on the number of essentials, like bottled water, that people can purchase. Southeastern Grocers, which owns supermarket chains Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más and Harveys Supermarket across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, said it is also seeing surging demand for items like bottled water, batteries and cleaning supplies, according to WTSP.
And it’s not just the necessities, but protecting their property is also on the minds of people as they prepare for the hurricane.
Floridians continued to buy plywood to board up their windows as well as fill up sandbags at local facilities across the state to guard against life-threatening flooding and storm damage from the 6- to 10-foot storm surges that are being forecast.
Jerry Demings, mayor of Orange County, Florida, which includes Orlando, said as of Monday the region had distributed 60,000 sandbags to homeowners in his county.
Angeline reported that one couple who moved to Sanford in nearby Seminole County four years ago was in line to fill up some 25 sandbags because they heard from neighbors that the flooding could reach their back porch.
Angeline said the woman’s T-shirt seemed to sum up the mood: It read, “Fear No Storm” -- just be prepared, officials warn.
Ian made landfall in Cuba as a Category 3 storm Tuesday morning, packing maximum sustained winds of at least 125 mph before moving over the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of Floridians living along the shore have rushed to evacuate before the storm hits.
The major hurricane, which is set to strengthen further and reach Category 4 force later Tuesday or Wednesday, is forecast to make landfall along the west coast of Florida Wednesday night, putting places like Tampa and points farther south at risk for extremely dangerous storm surge among other hazards.
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