South Carolina

Bread? Milk? What groceries you actually should buy as Hurricane Florence approaches

Two stores in the Charlotte area were among nine in the state fined for charging the wrong prices at the checkout counter.
Two stores in the Charlotte area were among nine in the state fined for charging the wrong prices at the checkout counter. MCT

With Hurricane Florence barreling toward the Carolinas, you can expect grocery stores to begin running out of the preferred triumvirate of storm stockpilers: bread, milk and eggs.

But that trio of perishable goods shouldn’t top your storm’s-a-comin’ grocery list, experts say.

Instead, here’s a look at what you actually should buy if you’re planning to ride out the storm.

What groceries to buy

  • Bottled water. It’s No. 1 for a reason. The S.C. Emergency Management Division suggests having two gallons per person per day.

  • Canned goods that can be eaten as-is. Tuna, salmon, beans, chicken, chili, soup. You don’t have to like it. You just have to be able to eat it. Also, this is a moot point if you don’t have a can opener.

  • Snacks with a long shelf life. Cereal stays good up to a year. Peanut butter, cookies, crackers, chips and granola bars almost certainly will come in handy. Even hard candy can provide quick boosts of energy.

  • Bread. It goes with everything and is super cheap. But don’t feel like you need to fight a stranger for the last loaf at Food Lion.

  • Fruit. Apples have a relatively long shelf life, and they keep the doctor away, too. Bananas, grapes and other fruits typically will outlast most power outages.

  • Disposable goods. Paper plates, plastic utensils, garbage bags and paper towels all will go a long way if the power goes out. zip-close bags can be a lifesaver, including for safely storing important documents like insurance papers and Social Security cards.

  • Plenty of pet food and water. Because Spot can’t buy his own dog food.

  • Prescription medicines. The University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy recommends having a week’s worth of prescription medicine on hand, especially if you must evacuate.

Not technically groceries but still worth having

  • First-aid kit. A no-brainer, if you don’t already have one.

  • Tools, duct tape. You may not be able to leave your home for supplies to make a quick fix.

  • Flashlights. And batteries, while you’re at it.

What to avoid

  • Milk: It will spoil quickly if you lose power. And spoiled milk is just the worst.

  • Frozen foods: That bag of frozen chicken tenders probably won’t be worth eating once the fridge has lost power. Palmetto Poison Center Managing Director Jill Michels recommends throwing out any frozen foods from fridges that have lost power for more than four hours. “When in doubt, throw it out,” she said.

Bonus tip

  • If the storm is heading your way, fill your bathtub with water.

  • Store some water in the freezer as the storm approaches. If the power goes out, it will thaw and offer you some cold water.

  • Top off your car with gas before the lines get too long.

Reach Wilks at 803-771-8362. Follow him on Twitter @AveryGWilks.
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