US Hurricane Irma: Stores open after storm, where conditions permit

10:23  13 september  2017
10:23  13 september  2017 Source:   MSN

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A line formed outside the store before its planned 10:30 a.m. opening . Rick Freedman and his wife rode the storm out the island where Hurricane Irma made its second landfall Sunday ___ 6:45 a.m. Police in Miami are investigating reports of people looting stores as Hurricane Irma hit the state.

A line formed outside the store before its planned 10:30 a.m. opening . The delay in opening , officials said, was because of the time needed to get enough Rick Freedman and his wife rode the storm out the island where Hurricane Irma made its second landfall Sunday afternoon as a Category 3 storm .

FILE - This Thursday, June 1, 2017, file photo shows a Walmart store in Hialeah Gardens, Fla. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017© Alan Diaz, File/ AP Photo FILE - This Thursday, June 1, 2017, file photo shows a Walmart store in Hialeah Gardens, Fla. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017

Scattered supermarkets and convenience stores opened Tuesday, a day after Hurricane Irma ravaged the state.

While hundreds of thousands of customers are still without power, Publix, Target and others opened some of their locations in Central Florida. Many Wawa and other gas stations reopened as well. Long lines of hungry customers could be seen around the region.

Publix reopened nearly all of its local stores Tuesday, said company spokesman Dwaine Stevens. Most stores have generators, he said.

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The airport closed Friday after Hurricane Irma was forecast to pass over Tampa Bay. Publix stores tentatively plan to re- open in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties on Tuesday, weather permitting . Monday: Irma downgraded to tropical storm after shoving past Tampa Bay.

Irma was named as a tropical storm on Wednesday morning and by Thursday afternoon it had strengthened into a large Category 3 hurricane , with winds of 115 mph. News. Where will Hurricane Irma go?

However, many stores that are open have limited supplies as new shipments have slowed in recent days.

Wal-Mart stores are still trying to open, according to a list of store closings on the company's website.

Most supermarkets and convenience stores in Seminole County were still closed at midday, with 68 percent of customers without power.

Customers waited in line at a Wal-Mart on Princeton Street in Orlando. An employee at the door said customers were being limited because the store is working with a smaller staff.

The store had limited supplies of food, although there was a fresh shipment of fruits and vegetables, and store generators kept frozen foods at safe temperatures while Irma knocked out power to most of the region. However, the store did not have eggs. Supplies of steaks were going fast as some customers were left with only propane grills for home cooking.

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"Across the region, we are working through power outages, debris and water levels," said Ragan Dickens, Wal-Mart spokesman. "We are working with our transportation, logistics and replenishment teams to get the stores stocked as soon as possible. We have 75 stores in recovery which means associates are in the stores prepping them for re-opening."

By Tuesday afternoon, Wawa reported that most of its convenience stores and gas stations had opened, and those that did had long lines.

"Currently, all Florida Wawa locations on the list are stocked and have fuel," Wawa spokeswoman Lori Bruce said. "Our fuel and supply chain teams will continue to work with our suppliers to replenish."

Drug stores chains CVS and Walgreen's also opened most locations by Tuesday afternoon.

Lowe's and Home Depot plans to open all stores Tuesday and shipments of new supplies should be coming soon, representatives for those companies said."

After a storm mostly what people are looking for are clean-up and dry-up supplies," said Steve Salazar, Lowe's spokesman.

A representative for Winn-Dixie said most of its grocery stores should open Tuesday. The rest should open Wednesday.

Mall at Millenia, Florida Mall and the Orlando Premium Outlets were among retailers that opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Got a news tip? karnold@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5664; Twitter, @kylelarnold or facebook.com/bykylearnold

See pictures of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Orlando and across Central Florida.

Hurricane Irma: Floridians watch and wait as the storm is projected to strengthen .
As a powerful hurricane moves across the Atlantic and toward the U.S. mainland, forecasters say it's still too early to know if Central Florida will be affected. Farther east in the Atlantic, though, hurricane watches are in effect for nearly a dozen Caribbean islands as Irma continues its westward track as a Category 3 storm. "It looks ominous when you're looking at a map and see the storm heading this way, but it's a long way out and things could change," said Brooks Tomlin, a meteorologist at Orlando Sentinel news partner Fox 35. " The earliestFarther east in the Atlantic, though, hurricane watches are in effect for nearly a dozen Caribbean islands as Irma continues its westward track as a Category 3 storm.

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