Hurricane preparation: Experts say to buy enough for stockpile, but don't hoard goods

People are gearing up for the possibility that Florida will be impacted by a tropical disturbance in the Caribbean Sea, by stocking up on goods and gasoline. 

AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins explained Thursday that people rushing to the pump all at once can actually create a shortage that might not have existed otherwise.

"The refineries that supply us with gasoline are over in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Based on the current tracks, this storm is not going to affect those refineries, so that gasoline will continue to be produced and continue to be shipped over to Florida. It’s just a matter of how many people go to the gas stations and bleed those tanks dry," said Jenkins. 

We saw it in the pandemic a few times – remember the toilet paper fiasco?

Jenkins is predicting that we may see something like that with gas next week.

"Be considerate as you’re looking to fill up your tanks this weekend, and realize that there are a lot of people here who want to make sure they have gasoline too."

Across Lake Mary, gas stations had a steady stream of people headed in Friday, but so far there didn’t seem to be any massive, wrap-around lines. 

Stephanie Baker says she’s been in Florida long enough to sit out the panic-buying, but she did make sure to fill up the tank Friday.

"We always like to wait and see how it goes," said Baker. "I think a little bit of media hype and some pressure, and then everyone rushes. So we generally get a case of water and some gas and wait it out."

At Costco, the gas lines were pretty long, but it was the demand for other goods that really had people filling the lot.

Most people FOX35 saw were stocking up on water bottles.

Brian McDonald says he’s already got some supplies at home, but he still wanted to grab some water and canned food from Costco just in case. 

It looks like it’s going to go the west of us, and we’re not going to get hit too bad. We went through Hurricane Andrew, and Hurricane Andrew looked like it was going to the Carolinas and then took a 90-degree turn, so you never know."

Other people at Costco said they didn’t need to rush for supplies, because they’re already prepared for the autumn emergencies Florida sees nearly every year.

Soraya Ricci says she keeps a hurricane preparedness pack that includes things like lamps and flashlights.

"Between June and July, I start buying my water and I rotate it like every week, every couple of weeks so that I always have fresh water. I always have a case at least," said Ricci. "I buy batteries when they go on sale – especially when it’s back-to-school, and it’s tax-free, buy batteries!"

Publix is sending out hurricane preparedness checklists, advising people to stock up on water, non-perishables, and pet food. Hannah Herring, a representative for Publix Supermarkets, also warned people to fill their prescriptions ahead of the storm.

"It’s all about building upon that culture of preparedness that we have as Floridians, and it starts with preparing early – not waiting till the last minute to stock up on those non-perishable food items that we know will get you through storm season," said Herring.