PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Hurricane Ian is leaving its mark all over Florida and finance experts are worried it will keep supply chain issues from improving.
"I cried. I never thought I'd be in that situation," J'Ira Mendez told WPTV. "I called my husband and I was like, 'I don't know what to do.'"
Mendez was in a panic last week. While Floridians across the state were stocking up on items ahead of Hurricane Ian, she couldn't find a key essential for her 11-month-old son.
"My baby ran out of formula," Mendez said. "I had one more can left. I went to the store on Saturday, went to a few different stores and couldn't find any, not even brands close to it."
Store shelves all over Palm Beach County, which normally are filled with formula, were empty.
Mendez posted about it in the Palm Beach County Moms group on Facebook.
"Another mom actually said that her baby didn't use formula anymore, so she can give me the cans that she had," Mendez said. "I was really thankful for her."
Supply chain issues and inflation were already problematic before Hurricane Ian rolled through Florida. Unfortunately, experts that WPTV spoke with believe the storm will keep that problem from improving any time soon.
"In this case, if we think about the fact that there are roads shut down, there are broken bridges, there are floods everywhere, literally there's a high demand for goods and supplies that just can't get there," Noah Rubin of Wealth Management at Wells Fargo in Boca Raton said.
Rubin, a finance expert, also said factories that produce goods in flooded areas and areas without power are having problems getting their products out.
Supply chain data website Resilinc estimates roughly 4,500 factories are affected.
"Now, to be clear, no hurricane is going to cause the American economy to go into high inflation or into recession, but since we're already battling with it, it just compounds the challenge that we're facing," Rubin said.
It's the kind of challenge that has people like Mendez frustrated, hoping for some relief sooner rather than later.
"It's been hard, and a lot of moms are scared now because they're about to give birth. Some can't breastfeed and formula is hard to find right now," Rubin said.
After the FDA temporarily shut down the nation's largest domestic baby formula factory due to bacterial contamination back in February, the FDA eased federal import regulations, aiming to increase our nation's formula supply.