Florida Exchanges Prepare for Hurricane Ian
While Puerto Rico Exchanges are still recovering from Hurricane Fiona, the Exchange is preparing for the likelihood of another hurricane striking, this time in Florida.
As of Monday morning, Hurricane Ian was moving through the Caribbean Sea and headed toward the Gulf of Mexico. Although its path was still uncertain, the storm looked likely to make landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast near Tampa by Thursday morning and then continue north through Georgia and the Carolinas.
Almost all of Florida is in the storm path. Hurricane-force winds, heavy rains and life-threatening storm surges are expected. According to CNN, if Ian does make landfall in Tampa, it would be the area’s first direct hit by a major storm since 1921.
MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, issued an installation wide installation-wide mandatory evacuation order Monday, telling all non-mission essential personnel to evacuate by noon Eastern Time Tuesday.
“We’re right in the middle of the base, which is in a flood area,” Elizabeth Colon, main store manager of the MacDill BX, said Monday afternoon. “They started the evacuation today, and by noon Tuesday everyone will have to be gone. The store, Express, Class Six and food court all need to be shut down by noon.”
On Monday morning, MacDill was at HURCON 4 (winds in excess of 58 mph expected within 72 hours). The MacDill Exchange team placed several emergency orders during the weekend, and fuel and supplies are in good shape. Colon said that the store started preparing its exterior for the storm as early as Saturday.
Since late last week, when Ian was known as Tropical Depression Nine, the Planning, Allocation and Replenishment (PAR) team has been monitoring the storm, staying in communication with South East Region Vice President Tony Pares and with stores, offering an emergency assortment available at the stores’ request.
“Everything that has been requested has been sent,” said PAR Manager Todd Anderson. “One of the things that was lacking was water at MacDill and that should arrive Monday night.”
Anderson said that PAR also sent a proactive note to Exchanges in Georgia and the Carolina asking if they needed supplies, both in preparation for the storm and for its aftermath.
Tyndall Air Force Base, on the Florida Panhandle, was at HURCON 5 (anticipating surface winds in excess of 58 mph within 96 hours) on Monday morning. The Exchange and the base are securing the exterior of buildings in preparation for the storm. Fuel and emergency supplies are in good shape at the Tyndall Exchange.
Patrick Space Force Base, on the Atlantic Coast, was also at HURCON 5. Fuel and emergency supplies are in good shape
At the outset of every hurricane season, the PAR team works with other Merchandising teams and with Logistics to boost distribution centers’ inventory of high-demand supplies, including water, flashlights, generators and more.
The Exchange’s Disaster Support Group (DSG), a team of Exchange leaders worldwide, ensures that the organization is informed of and prepared for coming storms.
This story is developing. Follow the Exchange Post for updates.