Residents stock up on storm supplies

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Gloria Pittman loads a box of bottled water into her grocery cart Tuesday while shopping for hurricane-related supplies at Fred's Food Club.


Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Unfortunately, people in the Twin Counties are not strangers to the damage caused by a natural disaster.

Within the past 20 years, the area has been devastated from substantial flooding caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The Twin Counties is now bracing for another powerful storm as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the North Carolina coast, bringing high winds and heavy rainfall.

Several hundred people were out Tuesday at Fred’s Food Club buying last-minute items such as water, bread, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries and other items in preparation for the storm.

Scanette Hairston and her family placed several cases of water along with food and batteries in the trunk of a dark blue Chevrolet Sonic. Hairston remembered the heartache of having just moved to the area and experiencing Hurricane Floyd.

“Within the first three months we moved down here, that’s when Floyd happened,” Hairston said. “The firefighters had to rescue us from our home and we lost everything. You combine that with Matthew, and it’s so important for people to go out and stock up on supplies because of what has happened here in the past.”

Wayne Wells was out shopping with his friend and neighbor Billy Salters at Fred’s Food Club. With Salters living in a flood zone area on N.C. 97 near Leggett, he said he has already helped Salters move his vehicles and some of his other equipment to the yard of his house, which is a couple miles down the road and higher in elevation

Salters said he sustained several feet of water in his home during Hurricane Matthew.

“We are hoping things don’t be as bad as it’s being predicted, but all we can do is go to the grocery store and fill up on the food, bread, water, batteries, flashlights and whatever other stuff to get you through it,” he said.

Lowe’s Home Improvement in Rocky Mount had shoppers looking for generators. Store manager Ana McCoy said the store will be getting four truckloads of generators, which will be about 800 generators, that people can purchase this morning in the greenhouse.

McCoy said Lowe’s also should be getting another truc load of propane tanks and water that should be in the store today.

“What we’re doing is any emergency trucks that come in, regardless of what time, we are unloading them and getting those items out to be ready for our customers,” McCoy said.

For the cleanup, Lowe’s is stocked with items such as trash bags, storage containers, cleaning supplies, plywood and anything else to help people start the recovery from the storm. While Lowe’s understands these times usually produce an increase in sales, the focus is making sure people are getting what they need to get through another natural disaster, McCoy said.

“Naturally, there is going to be a spike in business, but our primary concern is taking care of our customers and being here for the community,” she said. “We know that we’re in the retail sector and that people absolutely depend on us to get what they need. Most folks know what they need to do because unfortunately, they’ve been through this — and that’s one of the reasons we have seen so much traffic. We still have folks from the 2016 flood that haven’t been able to get back into their homes, so they’re terrified that this is going to happen again.”

For people looking for water, Stan Woodlief, store manager at Piggly Wiggly in Nashville, said the store should have another shipment coming in about 4 p.m. today.