FLORIDA - Stores across Florida are racing to keep shelves stocked as Hurricane Irma approaches.
Big brand stores such as Walmart, Target and Costco are redirecting supplies to Florida from distribution centers across America.
“We’re staying closely connected to our operators in the field to help ensure we’re stocking the appropriate items and keeping track of shipments to deliver for our customers,” Ragan Dickens, a Walmart spokesman, said in an email to NBC News. “We have emergency support teams dedicated to helping our stores during critical events such as this one. We understand that water is a need across the state and have currently mobilized 800 truckloads of water from around the country to be sent into the region to help meet this growing demand.”
Jenna Reck, a spokeswoman for Target, tells NBC News that the company is making sure stores are heavily stocked with the various items people need during a natural disaster, including "bottled water, food and flashlights."
However, stores are faced with how long to remain open and when to close. The goal will remain to keep supplies flowing into Florida, but not at the expense of the safety truck drivers and store employees.
"We're tracking Irma and making sure our team members are safe and informed of what to do when the storm hits," Reck says.
Once Hurricane Irma makes a U.S.-landfall, major distribution centers will be prepared to resupply affected areas as soon as the roads are safe.
“Once roads are open, products are back in stores before consumers are even back in homes,” says Marshall Cohen, retail industry analyst at NPD Group.
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