A Costco warehouse in Florida has already run out of certain essential items as residents brace for Hurricane Ian, the fourth such storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, but the first to directly threaten the U.S.
A sign outside a Costco warehouse location in West Palm Beach warned shoppers that the store is already out of toilet paper and paper towels.
Meanwhile, the store has also imposed purchase limits on cases of bottled water and posted signs alerting customers both outside and inside the store.
"Water limit 3. No toilet paper, paper towel," a whiteboard learning against the entrance of the membership-only warehouse club reads.
Representatives for Costco declined a request by FOX Business for comment.
Meantime Walmart said: "We’re closely watching Hurricane Ian’s track and are working to make sure our stores are prepared to safely serve our customers and communities, both before and after the storm."
|COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP.
Ian was forecast to hit the western tip of Cuba as a major hurricane and then become an even stronger Category 4 with top winds of 140 miles over warm Gulf of Mexico waters before striking Florida.
Floridians lined up for hours in Tampa to collect bags of sand and cleared store shelves of bottled water as Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a statewide emergency.
On Twitter, DeSantis told "Floridians to ensure they are prepared and that their emergency supply kit is stocked with supplies."
Across the peninsula in Titusville, generators, gas cans, chain saws and weather radios were in demand, Ace hardware store owner Bill Pastermack said.
The National Weather Service warned on Twitter Monday that a life-threatening storm surge is possible along much of Florida's West Coast starting late Tuesday, "with the highest risk from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region."
Officials also warned that heavy rainfall will increase across the Florida Keys and South Florida Tuesday before spreading to Central and Northern Florida the next two days.
A surge of up to 10 feet of ocean water and 10 inches of rain was predicted across the Tampa Bay area, with as much as 15 inches inches in isolated areas. That’s enough water to inundate coastal communities.
Bob Gualtieri, sheriff of Pinellas County, Florida, which includes St. Petersburg, said in a briefing that while no one will be forced to leave, "mandatory" evacuation orders are expected to begin Tuesday.
"What it means is, we’re not going to come help you. If you don’t do it, you’re on your own," Gualtieri said.
President Biden approved an emergency declaration for Florida Saturday. The action authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.