Water, water everywhere. Just not bottled, it seems.
Hurricane Irma is days away from hitting the South Florida coast -- if it hits the continental U.S. in the first place -- but the Sunshine State is already nearly out of water. The handful of grocery stores in the Miami, Tampa and Orlando metropolitan areas that TheStreet reached out to late Wednesday morning, Sept. 6 all reported complete water shortages.
One Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) associate in Clermont said that none of the Walmarts in the area had water Wednesday morning, and that no one in the store has an idea when the next shipment will arrive. The Target Corporation (TGT) in the Tampa Central, according to one associate, had water Tuesday evening but it sold out very quickly. The next earliest shipment won't be until Friday, she added. A water-depleted Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) in Miami is also anticipating a shipment soon—the store clerk just wasn't sure when exactly.
Locals took to Twitter to broadcast the panic shopping across the state, posting photos of extensive lines and empty shelves.
But there's good news for Walmart shoppers: As of Thursday afternoon, 800 truckloads of water, bananas and batteries are en route to South Florida, according to spokesman Randy Hargrove.
Home Depot, Inc. (HD) is also on top of its water inventory, the retailer said.
"Our Florida stores aren't all out of water," Home Depot spokesman Matthew Harrigan told TheStreet via email. "Some may sell through quickly, but our merchandising and supply chain teams are working around the clock to continually replenish them."
Most retailers, in fact, are now on overdrive in restocking their shelves, the Florida Retail Federation told USA Today. "The retailers are well aware of the shortages," said James Miller, a spokesman. "And they have a plan in place to stock the shelves as fast as they can."
If things get dire in a water shortage, however, bottled water isn't the only source of safe drinking water. While flood water can contaminate wells and water treatment facilities, water can often be made safe to drink by boiling it, adding disinfectants, or filtering, according to the Center for Disease Control. Boiling doesn't work for water contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals.
"Boiling is the surest method to make water safer to drink by killing disease-causing organisms, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites," the CDC website reads. "You can improve the flat taste of boiled water by pouring it from one container to another and then allowing it to stand for a few hours, OR by adding a pinch of salt for each quart or liter of boiled water."
To store boiled water, use sanitized containers with tight covers. If the water out of tap is cloudy, you can filter it first through a clean cloth, paper towel or coffee filter before boiling. Iodine, chlorine bleach and chlorine dioxide tablets can be used to disinfect the water.
"Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach per each gallon of water," according to Weather.giv. "Stir it well and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before you use it."
Per the CDC, other sources water include...
- Your home's drinking water heater tank
- Melted ice cubes from before the hurricane
- Toilet tank
- Liquid from canned fruit and vegetables
Stick with TheStreet for updated Irma coverage:
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