During hurricane season, the images of empty shelves are seen almost as frequently as those of the forecasts showing potential paths of storms.
Current projections show Hurricane Florence bearing down on the East Coast, threatening North and South Carolina this week.
Residents are heeding official warnings and are already making a run on supplies.
The pictures of vacant grocery store aisles are flooding social media. They show the places in supermarkets that are normally filled with pallets of bottled water and bread, among other supplies. They are being purchased in preparation for Florence, which is expected to be a “dangerous major hurricane,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is among the officials telling people to prepare for a worst-case scenario. At a Sunday news conference, McMaster said, “Presume that a major hurricane is going to hit South Carolina. Be prepared. Be ready.”
But it won’t be a joking matter if the hurricane causes power outages or leaves people unable to access markets, where fresh food and water might already be unavailable.
There have been people quick to point out the potential damage Florence could inflict, citing one of the most damaging storms in South Carolina history — Hurricane Hugo.
“This is no joke. Get prepared,” one person tweeted.
That’s why so many people are heeding the warnings and leaving store shelves looking like they were not stocked.
“Literally, they are filling buggies full of water, shopping carts full of water,” said Ryan Deeck, grocery department manager at a Myrtle Beach Walmart, the Sun News reported. “They’re coming in and buying water and plates, and that’s about all they’re buying.”
There have been reports from the Lowcountry as well as the Upstate in South Carolina, about barren shelves. There already have been many similar reports from across North Carolina, including Wilmington which is currently forecast by many computer models as the center of Florence’s landfall.
“All types of groceries, canned goods and water are the most important things. You can get by without power as long as you have the necessities,” said Richard Maher, the manager of a Charlotte hardware store, according to WBTV.
Bottled water was hard to keep in stock in several Raleigh stores, WRAL.com reported.
The State reported Sunday that no bottled water was available at the Walmart on Killian Road.
“Being prepared is always the best strategy,” McMaster said, per the Weather Channel.