JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Empty shelves are becoming the norm for stores across the First Coast as people prepare for Hurricane Irma. Most stores are out of bottled water, but people are being reminded to check back as they await more shipments.
Many people who are “preparing for the worst case scenario” say they are taking this more seriously after experiencing Hurricane Matthew last year and seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Colleen Rocha said the Costco at the Town Center was packed to the brim. There was a line outside that wrapped around the building from the moment they opened.
“Employees were apologizing saying they were trying their best, they were out of water, and to come back tomorrow, people were piling up with Gatorade,” Rocha said. “An elderly couple said they are out of water but they have beer and wine.”
Denise Lewis loaded up on paper plates, towels and silverware. She works for a local nursing home and knows how seniors in Houston had to be rescued in dire circumstances.
“It makes us nervous,” Lewis said. “Senior homes were flooded up to 4 or 5 feet I’ve heard, if we encounter that, we have a great team at our facility, we will get through this hurricane like we’ve gotten through everything else.”
She says she does not plan on evacuating
“That’s the commitment we made, I love our residents and I wouldn’t leave them for anything in the world,” Lewis said.
The GM of Town Center’s Costco calls the day “the perfect storm” because their excess trucks had been sent to Houston to help deliver water and supplies after Hurricane Harvey. He says they were happy to help Texas, but now Costcos all over Florida are out of water and waiting for those trucks to return.
Store managers around Jacksonville say there’s no way to know for sure when they will get re-stocked because many items leave the shelves as soon as they’re brought out, but they say always check back the next day or give them a call as their trucks are constantly being re-loaded.