Hurricane Irma Preparations

Local residents, and even those from nearby cities, are piling into grocery stores all over Jacksonville to prepare for Hurricane Irma’s daunting arrival. The powerful category 5 storm is easily set to break record as the largest in Atlantic hurricane history.
At the Target in the Town Center, hoards of people stood near the water section trying to get the last of what was left of the recent shipment. Kelby Rothenberg, a student studying Hospitality here in Jacksonville, seemed in brighter spirits than a few others with the limited selection of water. “I’m just glad I was able to get a few bottles now, I just came from Publix and there was literally nothing, people were buying sparkling water. Luckily, I went out Monday to BJ’s and bought a few cases and gallon bottles before they ran out. I was here for the storm last year and I’m doing the same as last year, unless we have to evacuate. I’d rather stay home and avoid the roads and highways, unless I absolutely have to leave.” Aside from stocking up on water, gas, and supplies like batteries and canned goods are important to keep on hand. The National Hurricane Center lists a few ways for people to prepare for the storm by jotting down numbers of important places and family members, create a plan in case of emergency or evacuation and to be alert for any tornadoes and the “eye” of the storm. “I was looking for gas cans to fill and keep on hand, but I’ve been to three places now and no such luck.”
The National Hurricane Center urges people to “Know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Understand National Weather Service forecast products and especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings. Contact your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond.”
Sarah Swanson, a local business student claims she’s not sure what’s going to happen. “I was at home last year for the storm, too. I didn’t have flood insurance then and I don’t have any now, so I’m praying my roof stays on. I have a few extra gallons of water so I’m not too worried about that. I still need to fill up my gas tank but gas stations are running out. I have two dogs and I bought a ton of treats for them, too. They get scared by storms. I just hope I can stay put and the worst will be over in the night.”
The National Hurricane Center additionally lists resources like American Red Cross, the FEMA Guide, National Weather Service Weather Safety and OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration for people to take advantage of before and after the storm as needed.

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