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As others opted to heed evacuation orders and travel inland to wait out Hurricane Florence, many others along the East Coast opted to hunker down and ride it out.
For many retailers in the path of the slow-moving storm, that meant a run on staples including water and batteries.
One Walmart employee in Durham, North Carolina, captured the mayhem at her local store in a video she uploaded to Facebook on Tuesday.
As the Epoch Times reported, Jenetha Diamondz Satterfield saw tensions rise as crowds of shoppers vied for resources — even with three days until the storm’s expected landfall.
“Nobody was fighting, just pushing and rushing to get water,” the witness wrote in a social media post accompanying the video.
That video was recorded at the Walmart located near Glenn School Road in Durham, but retailers all along Florence’s path have been dealing with the increased and often frantic foot traffic.
In response to Satterfield’s initial post, several locals explained why they were willing to brave the sharp elbows at Walmart to buy provisions that would sustain them through the storm.
“Water can’t be found anywhere,” Mamie Wilkins wrote of other businesses open in Durham.
Walmart is often among a community’s most reliable source of necessities ahead of a storm. The retail giant has advised those in the path of the storm to check their local store’s Facebook page or call it directly to see if it is still open.
With mandatory and voluntary evacuation zones affecting residents in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, Walmart announced that all locations in those areas would be closed before midnight Tuesday.
In a comment to reporters about the company’s hurricane preparation plans, a spokesperson said some stores had prematurely begun leaving recorded messages indicating they would not reopen until Saturday morning.
“We’ll assess conditions and other factors after the storm to gauge when we can safely reopen,” Phil Keene said. “In terms of the storm closures, we made the decision to close those stores with our teams in mind. We wanted to make sure our associates had time to take care of their families.”
WRAL published a series of images from the Raleigh area, which show bare shelves in a variety of stores following a run on items including water and power generators.
”For those of you that say, ‘I’ll start prepping for Florence later’ … see the photos below from WRAL SmartShopper this AM… This is the local Walmart in Clayton!” anchor Mikaya Thurmond wrote in a caption to one such photo.