Stores prepare for pre-storm shoppers this weekend

Published 11:00 pm Friday, August 24, 2012

Generators are one of the hot-ticket items that usually sell at Townsend Bulding Supply before a big storm.

There hasn’t been a crowd yet at Piggly Wiggly, but the staff there expects one any day now.

“It’s been a while since a storm has come up this way to scare anybody, but there is certainly a spike when things like this happen,” said J.R. Smith, store manager of the Piggly Wiggly on U.S. Highway 231 in Troy.

Hurricane Isaac is expected to be Tropical Storm Isaac by the time it hits the Troy area about 2 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Pike County Emergency Management Agency Director Jeanna Barnes.

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“That’s according to the latest advisory, so people should begin to prepare,” Barnes said, noting that storms are unpredictable and could change course.

And when people begin to shop for storm supplies, Smith said bottle water is the number one item customers usually snag. But they also pick up canned meat items and ice.

“We have batteries and flashlights too,” Smith said. “A lot of people don’t think about that while they are at the grocery store.”

Over at Townsend Building Supply on Brundidge Street, the staff there is gearing up for what could be a busy weekend.

“Usually we have some people shop in advance,” said store manager Casey Dansby.

“But it’s a rush the day before a storm.”

Among the top sellers at Townsend – generators, batteries, flashlights, tarps, camping supplies and propane.

There are a couple of generators at the building supply store, but Dansby said it’s a mistake to wait and look for big items such as generators too close to a storm.

“We happen to have a couple,” Dansby said. “But otherwise I probably couldn’t buy one now if I wanted to.”

Barnes said people should always prepare for a category higher that what forecasters are predicting when they are creating a hurricane kit.

“Strength can always increase overnight while you are asleep,” Barnes said.

“It can catch us off guard.”

Barnes suggests filling up on gas, stocking or preparing an emergency kit complete with non-perishable food, and filling any prescriptions that might be low. She also said if power is out, ATMs won’t work so it’s a good idea to withdraw a little cash, too.

And there’s a new American Red Cross smartphone app the Pike County EMA is recommending to help with hurricane tracking and the aftermath of a storm.

“With every story you need to be prepared,” Barnes said.

For more ideas when preparing an emergency kit, visit