Krista Anderson, of West Palm Beach, is not taking any chances with Hurricane Dorian. But she’s also not going all out to prepare for the storm — at least not until the storm’s track is clearer.
“I just filled up my car with gas and will fill the bathtub with water,” she said, “but I’m not going to put up hurricane shutters until I’m sure we’re getting a direct hit. They’re a pain.”
Many Floridians are facing the same hard choices 72 hours before Dorian is set to arrive somewhere along Florida’s vast east coast.
“I feel helpless because the whole coast is threatened,” said Josefine Larrauri, a retired translator. “What’s the use of going all the way to Georgia if it can land there?”
As local governments began distributing sandbags, shoppers rushed to stock up on food, plywood and other emergency supplies at supermarkets and hardware stores, and motorists topped off their tanks and filled gasoline cans. Some fuel shortages were reported in the Cape Canaveral area.
Shopping for a sump pump at a Home Depot in Brevard County, Geoffrey Studds told FLORIDA TODAY he thinks the media is somewhat exaggerating the danger of the storm.
“The media is taking it a bit out of proportion,” he said, scanning the shelves for a pump. “It’s sells newspapers.”
Studds said he had a stock of food but really needed water. “People can survive for a week without food,” he said.
Storm or no storm, water is scarce on shelves. Customers entering a Publix in Brevard County felt a surge of hope as they spotted carts full of cases of Aquafina leaving the store. But their hopes were dashed when they found they were too late: the water aisles were largely stripped of all but the most expensive options. The only remaining choice: Fiji water or Perrier.
Paul Lynch, owner of Mr. Handyman of Brevard, has had to postpone his regularly scheduled work to install hurricane shutters for clients who are “too old or too rich” to do the work themselves. “It’s a disaster,” he said.
Tiffany Miranda of Miami Springs waited well over 30 minutes in line at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Hialeah to buy hurricane supplies. Some 50 vehicles were bumper-to-bumper, waiting to fill up at the store’s 12 gas pumps.
“You never know with these hurricanes, she said. “It could be good, it could be bad. You just have to be prepared.”
Contributing: Bailey Gallion, Florida Today; Associated Press