Texans hit stores to buy emergency supplies despite the uncertainty of tropical storms

HOUSTON – The threat of southeast Texas being in the cone of uncertainty for two tropical systems has left Houstonians with lots of questions about the forecast. Despite the uncertainty, local officials urged residents to plan for what could be a rainy week.

“Don’t wait until we know whether or not or is going to come this way. We are barely starting to the peak of hurricane season. So the time to be ready, was yesterday,” said Francisco Sanchez, the deputy emergency management coordinator of the Harris County Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Martha Melbar and his brother, Nathan, heeded that advice as they shopped at the Academy Sports and Outdoors in southwest Houston.

“We have two fans. We have the batteries and the cooler just in case the power goes out since they’re saying there’s going to be strong winds,” Melbar said, adding the forecast’s uncertainty has piqued her angst. “It’s kind of everywhere, so I’m kinda just prepping that’s all to be secure.”

Academy’s operations manager Daren Johnson said new shipments of flashlights, gas cans and batteries have arrived daily. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the supply chains locally are now forced to deal with duel demand.

“You see the stuff just starting to creep back onto the shelves and then another mad dash. Then if we do get some surge in the virus, then what, you know. We’re back to square one or beyond,” said Hayden Cowie, a customer at Academy.

Other shoppers agreed. One added to have a plan and stack up on nonperishable food.

“We’ve been in the past with a hurricane coming through and we were kinda just stuck at home. So just trying to get some nonperishables. Something we can keep for a week-long,” said Gabriel Tow, who shopped for groceries at an H-E-B in southwest Houston.

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