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Water limits, lines outside stores: Florida residents prep for Hurricane Dorian, now a major storm

Posted at 11:24 AM, Aug 30, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. — While people wait to learn more about Hurricane Dorian, people across Florida are racing to stores to load up on supplies.

A Lowes store in Tampa, Florida, had a line of people waiting outside for the store to open at 6 a.m. on Friday. They had 26 generators in stock and nearly all of them were purchased and loaded by 7:30 a.m.

The store manager said they expect another shipment of at least 200 generators sometime later Friday. They're also expecting additional shipments of water and other critical supplies.

If you are in the storm's path, it's best to call your local hardware store to see what supplies they have in stock.

As part of a corporate policy, when it comes to emergency situations like hurricanes, Lowes stores cannot hold lumber or generators for customers either online or over the phone. Customers must come into the store to purchase, according to Dorianne Mercado, an assistant store manager of operations at a Lowes in Florida.

"We're trying to get all the materials needed, water, gas tanks, everything that’s needed for the customers out and ready to get as quickly as possible," Mercado said.

Some customers made purchases to board up their homes, while others tried to beat out any lines this weekend.

"You never know, you actually never know if it could be the dangerous one or not , but hopefully not," said Florida resident Dashel Carmichael.

He and other shoppers said the one thing they were still looking for was water.

"Wherever you can get it, grab it. There is nothing on the shelves there," said Christina Ortega after leaving a Walmart store on Thursday evening.

A Walmart spokesperson said supplies will be continually delivered to stores as long as they're able.

A photo from a Publix store in Florida shows that some stores may be limiting how many of cases of water each customer can take.

Publix released this statement on its hurricane preparations:

“We prepare months in advance of hurricane season to stock up on items like water and ice, and work closely with our suppliers to have other items available as well. We continue to make regular deliveries to our stores to keep them stocked for our customers.”

But people like the Livesays, who've lived in the area more than half a century, are staying calm.

"Anytime they say hurricane it’s a big deal," Henry Livesay said. "I worry about it but I don’t stress out over it because I do what I can do. The good Lord calls you that’s it it’s over with you know."

This story was originally published by Haley Bull on WFTS.