Water supply shortage hits Fla. grocery stores as Hurricane Matthew looms

Grocers trying to keep up with growing demand
Posted at 7:00 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 19:03:12-04

Grocery stores across Florida are seeing a shortage of bottled water and other essential supplies.

A steady stream of customers shopped for must-have items Wednesday in Lakeland at a Publix in the Southgate Shopping Center.

Publix ran out of its store-brand 24 pack of bottled water by late morning, but it wasn’t long before the warehouse sent over a fresh shipment.

“It's going to start to be going quick, people are starting to pile in,” said customer Kim Scott.  “They were out of the Publix-brand water.  That's why we got Zephyr Hills."

The store received nine additional pallets of water products Wednesday to keep up with the growing demand.

Multiple grocery stores across Polk county reported a shortage of water products.  

"I was worried it was going to be empty, but it's not,” said customer H.L. McConnell. “They've been carting water in left and right."

As Hurricane Matthew looms along the Atlantic, Polk county remains in a Tropical Storm Warning.  Emergency management officials predict the storm could cause widespread power outages and winds reaching 40 to 50 miles per hour.

"Just looking to stock up and preparing for the storm, not sure if it's going to actually impact us but just in case,” said Josh Boles.

Schools in Polk county are closed Thursday and Friday due to the hurricane.

MORE: Hurricane Matthew: Closures and Alerts

Emergency management officials will open a special needs shelter in Bartow at 8 a.m. Thursday. The emergency facility will provide shelter around the clock and some medical and nursing help for those in need.