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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Water is the hot item at Miami-Dade grocery stores – flying off the shelves as quickly as workers can stock it – as residents prepare for a possible tango with Tropical Storm Erika.

Francis Gotsis is getting her family ready ahead of the storm.  She has huge bottles of water and lots of canned food.

“We’re getting grandma ready and I’m getting ready for my family as well, just in case anything happens. We need to take care of grandma here,” said Gotsis. “Tuna fish, Chef Boyardee. You have to get Chef Boyardee for the kids and for the husband.”

She’s certainly not alone at the grocery store. People are getting what they need before the expected rush Saturday.

“Just a little shopping (and) getting ready. I got some water, some apples some peanut butter and jelly –comfort foods,” said another shopper, Michael Greene.

Greene has been keeping a close eye on the storm and is trying to stay a step ahead.

“Looking at the news and trying to stay educated. Not that concerned, just try to be smart, make good decisions,” he said.

And even though Esperanza Ruiz was stockpiling supplies, she hopes nothing happens.

“I hope it gets disorganized and heads another way. But just in case, I like to have the water,”  explained.

But not everyone was loading up for a storm.

At the Winn Dixie on Coral Way, Danny Mungai said he’s actually shopping for a birthday party he’s throwing this weekend, even though Erika is looming.

“Not worried about it. I have impact windows,” Mungai said.

One of the more surprising lines today has been waiting for gas.

The line at a North Miami Costco stretched from the pumps through the parking lot and onto Biscayne Boulevard. People at the pump remember the long lines previous storms and didn’t want to get caught off guard again.

“The roads get often flooded, the pumps are out of electricity.  We remember there were gas lines and quotas for three, five gallons in some years, so we better have gas tanks full,” said Inna Logbinsky.

In Doral, and several other locations around Miami-Dade, people are picking up free sandbags. They know that even a heavy rain, let alone a named storm, can cause flooding pretty quickly.

“We need to prepare for hurricane. We have a long time without hurricane here. We have to take prevention for our family,” said Rosana Abad.

 

The Coast Guard operation center for the southeastern region of the United States, as well as the Caribbean, will be monitoring the storm and coordinating any search and rescue efforts.

The Coast Guard is already making plans to send many of their Florida-based cutters out to sea.  That will likely happen in the morning.  They’re urging boaters to play it smart and stay off the water.

“We are putting our ships out to sea ahead of the storm because it’s safer. We will be able to respond if someone needs our help, but there may come a point when this storm develops that we can no longer respond,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma.

For weather 24/7, get the app or visit our weather blog. The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season ends on November 30th.

 

Ted Scouten

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