Pandemic impacts certain supply availability for hurricane season

Published: May 6, 2021 10:58 PM EDT
Updated: May 6, 2021 11:45 PM EDT

Pandemic shortages could come back to haunt us in Southwest Florida during hurricane season.

Hurricane Preparedness Week begins May 9, but it could be harder to get certain items for your hurricane kit.

We learned some people are already having trouble buying lumber for hurricane shutters, generators and pet food. While there will always be some who wait until the last minute to stock up, others are trying to plan ahead.

“We will be ready for hurricane season this year,” Lucille Carbo said.

Carbo and her husband are in the process of installing hurricane shutters on their home after live in Florida for seven and a half years. They’ve been through their share of storms.

“We stock up on water, batteries,” Carbo said.

This year, they’re stocking up early.

“Harder to get materials, right down to batteries, the basic needs,” Martin Carbo said. “Water, I don’t think you’ll have a problem, but anything other than that, you’re going to have a problem.”

Martin works at a hardware store, where he says many everyday items are selling for higher prices and taking longer to restock.

“And if it comes in, it disappears,” Martin said. “It’s gone.”

Hurricane must-haves such as generators are backlogged from the onset of the pandemic.

Southwest Florida Generator told us orders that would usually take a couple weeks are now taking 20 weeks.

There is a lumber shortage too, and a shortage on pet food is also a worry for the 200 cats at the Naples Cat Alliance.

“Three weeks ago, the aisles were bare at Walmart,” said Jennifer Michelson with Naples Cat Alliance. “We’re right now, starting to get prepared because hurricane season is right around the corner.”

Ordering online might save you some time if you’re working on getting your hurricane preparedness kit ready.

Hurricane season begins June 1.

“You have to be proactive,” Martin Carbo said. “You can’t wait until the last minute. You wait to the last minute, you’re going to have a problem.”