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The Harvey effect? Empty shelves as Floridians stock up on supplies

Posted at 8:15 PM, Sep 04, 2017

Hurricane Irma might still be far away from South Florida, but residents are already gearing up and getting ready.

“We just picked up some soups, some bread lots of water,” said Peter Sorge from Jupiter said as he was shopping with his wife Sandra.

The Publix on Indiantown Road in Jupiter had just restocked on water an hour ago but the supply was almost instantly gone.

“We had a friend pick up 12 gallons of water for us,” Sandra Sorge said. “She waited for us here because there was nothing here.”

Target in West Palm Beach was struggling to keep up with the demand.

“As you’re trying to put it on the shelf it’s already gone,” Joseph Bacorn, assistant store manager with Target said. “We weren’t expecting it this soon.”

The early run on supplies might be the Harvey effect.

“My kids and I, I’m a single mom, we wanted to get ready. Hurricane Harvey really scared me and we’ve lived in Florida my whole life,” Jean McHugh from Jupiter said.

Scenes at Home Depot in Royal Palm Beach are similar. The store had run out of water, batteries and generators by Monday afternoon, but the store managers said they have emergency shipments come in as soon as possible.

“But I’m going to tell you, vendors, we’re asking them for as much as we can and they’re giving us a small fraction of what we’re asking," Bacorn said.

Publix officials said they had 130 truck loads of water distributed to different stores in South Florida but they can’t seem to keep up with the demand.

“This is early but the problems in Houston, everybody is a little bit nervous right now,” Peter Sorge said.

Store managers advise to get supplies early in the morning when they just restocked and call before you come if you’re looking for specific items.

Most of all they advise people to pack their patience. Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for immediately, shelves are getting replenished constantly and shoppers still have several days to get their supplies.