Bay Area residents prepare for Hurricane Irma

- Governor Rick Scott is urging Floridians to prepare for Hurricane Irma now, to use this week to stock up on hurricane supplies, and make sure their disaster kits are ready for whatever the storm brings.

That's what we saw shoppers doing Monday at stores around the Tampa Bay area. On a holiday when people are usually busy grilling, grocery stores were packed.

"Definitely better now than when it's too late," Chance Burnett said as he loaded cases of water bottles into his trunk.

Almost every cart we saw at the Winn-Dixie on North Dale Mabry Highway was filled with water bottles and jugs.

"It's dwindling, everybody's grabbing water," said Darrell Richmond.

LINK: Track Hurricane Irma on MyFoxHurricane.com

With the deadly destruction of Hurricane Harvey fresh in their minds, people aren't taking any chances with Irma.

"We've got a lot of cases of water and a lot of canned foods, tuna, Chef Boyardees," said Burnett. "And then, we are on our way to Home Depot and we are going to stock up on flashlights and batteries."

While most stores we saw were well-stocked with water, we got reports of others with empty or near-empty shelves. The Florida Division of Emergency Management recommends buying at least one gallon per person, per day, for three to seven days, as well as non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, paper plates and plastic utensils.

And don't forget your meds. "Once a state of emergency is issued, you can get get that 30-day supply early," said FOX 13 Medical Reporter Dr. Joette Giovinco. "The insurance companies know that, the doctors know that, and that pharmacists know that and you want to make sure you have those medications."

Dr. Jo also suggests stocking the medicine cabinet with things like gauze, bandages, hydrogen peroxide and eye protection for cleanup after the storm.

While you're out and about, now's a good time to head to the gas station and top off your tank. And, while you're at it, make sure to withdraw some cash from the bank, because after a big storm, banks and ATMs may not be open or available for a while.

RELATED: FOX 13 Storm Preparation Shopping List (PDF)

At Home Depot in Tampa, people were buying up tarps, gas containers and generators. The generator shelves had just been restocked on Monday morning. By the afternoon, "It's already sold out," said assistant store manager Chrissy Lenze.

While they expect a new shipment this week, they have plenty of other supplies ready.

"Mostly plywood, water, flashlights, tarps for afterwards, sandbags to prepare," Lenze said. "We want to be the last ones to close, first ones to open during a storm."

A few more pieces of advice -- gather your important documents like bank account numbers, Social Security cards and medical records, and put them in a waterproof container. We spoke to one shopper today who was on his way home to take pictures of all of his valuables. That's also recommended.

Last but certainly not least, don't forget your pets. Emergency officials say you should make sure sure you have plenty of food and medication for them, along with proper identification, immunization records and a carrier or cage, just in case you need to transport them.

LINK: Track Hurricane Irma on MyFoxHurricane.com

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