Gas, water in high demand ahead of Irma
TAMPA (FOX 13) - A lot of people are getting prepared for the worst -- as they should -- but officials say empty store shelves or empty gas pumps are no cause for alarm.
At the Wawa on Dale Mabry Highway, lines spilled into the streets at times Wednesday. People have been heeding the warning to get prepared, but when everyone rushes to fill up their tanks or buy hurricane supplies at the same time, we start to temporarily run out.
It's important not to let the stress get to you.
People around Tampa are wasting no time getting prepared for Hurricane Irma, but the rush of residents trying to stock up for the storm is causing store shelves and gas pumps to empty out
Concerned resident Sandy Wichstead bought so much gas for her new generator Wednesday, even her bank got worried.
"I filled up my car first, but then my bank put a hold on my credit card, so I had to circle back around, because they thought it was a fraudulent charge," Wichstead said.
According to AAA, the rush to get prepared may be doing some harm. They say there's no need for drivers here in the Bay Area to panic.
"We're still pretty well supplied here in Tampa Bay, but the problem is that there's such a strong demand. People who are rushing out to the gas tanks. It is leaving gas stations on empty. As long as the port stays open, we will continue to get supplies coming into the Tampa area," AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins said.
The same goes for retailers, as cases of bottled water sell like hotcakes, officials with Hillsborough County Public Utilities say you don't need store-bought water.
"They can fill clean regular bottles, they can fill pots, they can fill pans, anything that can contain water, it will be consumable for human consumption," Beth Schinella said.
The only time the water should not be consumed is if the hurricane ruptures a line, causing the water pressure to drop. In that instance, the county will notify residents.
For now, those who can't find cases of water can rest assured, their tap is just as safe.
"There's no concern at the present. Our systems are operating efficiently, and we're meeting our demands," Schinella said.
If your usual gas station runs out, most large gas station replenish their pumps each night, so they're likely to have gas again tomorrow.