Residents scramble for supplies as Ian approaches Florida


TAMPA (NewsNation) — As Hurricane Ian moves through the Caribbean, Florida is bracing for the storm’s impact. While mandatory evacuations are in place for several counties, many residents are choosing to stay — rushing to stock up on food, water and fuel.

Residents across Florida are scrambling to place sandbags around their homes and stockpile emergency supplies, emptying store shelves as Hurricane Ian spins toward the state carrying high winds, torrential rains and a powerful storm surge.

Thousands of Hillsborough County residents live in low-lying neighborhoods prone to flooding. Residents across the area have been stocking up on plywood and generators.

In Apollo Beach, a Tampa suburb, residents waited in extremely long lines Monday to get sandbags. One resident told NewsNation she waited three hours to get 10 sandbags.

Grocery stores across Tampa Bay continue to see an increase in shoppers as people prepare for Ian. In a grocery store in St. Petersburg, across the state on the Gulf Coast, only empty cardboard boxes remained where the store normally stocks distilled water. Toilet paper, snacks and canned soup could still be found.

In the historic Tampa neighborhood of Ybor City, northeast of downtown, Diane Zambito, 64, said she normally doesn’t get rattled by hurricanes that hit the state.

“But this one’s different,” she said on Monday afternoon as her husband nailed plywood over their home’s windows. “This one scares me. It’s too big to not be scared if you have any sense.”

The couple planned to shovel sand into bags and stack them up in front of the doors to keep water from flowing inside.

Key West Mayor Teri Johnston said her island city could be one of the first places in the United States hit by Hurricane Ian.

Johnston said homeowners and vacation rentals had nailed up storm shutters or boards across windows as residents stocked up enough food and water to last a week.

Ian could intensify into a Category 3 storm once it enters the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters say, but weaken again while parked off Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast on Thursday. From there, the storm’s path is uncertain. Between 6 to 12 inches of rain were expected to inundate both Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts on Thursday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

© 1998 - 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation

Elections 2022

More Elections 2022