By Ted Scouten

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PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – Water is the hottest item in Palm Beach as residents prepare for the torrential downpours and breakneck winds of Hurricane Matthew.

“No water! They’re getting another shipment in though,” said storm prepper Michael Floody.

A grocery store in Lantana is waiting for the next shipment, but they still have the big bottles – and those have been flying out the door too.

“Just getting some water for my animals. I got five dogs and a few cats at home and they need water. I went to several places Costco was completely out of water,” said Serafin Maldonado.

One Publix nearly ran out of water in the afternoon.

“We’re seeing a complete absence of water,” Chris Bridge said.

By evening it was completely empty.  But Bridge said there’s an easy use solution to that water problem.

“Simply turn on your tap and you fill up your jugs and you have water,” Bridge said.

Johnny Honeycutt, who compared hurricanes to camping, “got some soup to heat up, some tuna, sausage and crackers.”

One place where there is plenty of water is in Palm Beach County canals. The flood gates are open, lowering water level to make room for possible drenching rain.

Near the ocean in Delray Beach, city crews have been picking up tree debris and palm fronds so they don’t fly around in the wind. Chairs and umbrellas are also stacked waiting for pick up after being cleared off the beach.

“They’ve been clearing them off the beach so they can put them away for the hurricane,” said beachgoer Jean Huminak.

Diane Sloane owns a cafe in downtown Delray. She just restocked and is worried if she loses power the food will spoil. She’s also worried that customers are already staying away.

“We’re already being impacted because people are preparing for the storm, so nobody’s going out to breakfast or lunch, they’re getting ready,” she said.

Related: Palm Beach County Schools To Close Thursday & Friday

And gassing up in Lantana is not a quick task.

“Tell me, how long have you been in line?” CBS4’s Ted Scouten asked Karlyn Kamm.

“Forty-five minutes at least,” Kamm replied.

The line at one Costco snaked through the parking lot and onto nearby I-95.

“I came from Fort Lauderdale. It took a while just getting off the highway, it took about 20 minutes,” Doris Cruz said.

People were gassing up not only their cars, but filling up gas cans for generators.

Some waited so long that they found creative ways to pass the time.

“I’m reading because of the long lines, so I always bring a book and read,” Beverly Schaffer said with a laugh.

And there’s a sound we haven’t heard in a while: the sound of shutters going up.

“I got to work, still, tomorrow. And I don’t know if I get off work tomorrow at 4:30, how much time I’m going to get?” said Devin Frazier. “If it is tropical storm force winds, it’s going to be hard to do this in the rain and in the wind.”


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