They are still in recovery mode from Irma and Maria, now Puerto Rico is facing the first Atlantic hurricane of the season as it approaches the Caribbean.
This time it is Beryl, a Category 1 storm that is expected to cut through the Lesser Antilles late Sunday and then pass just south of Puerto Rico. CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said Friday that the island is expected to see minimal tropical storm-force winds, but it is hard to predict the storm’s path beyond the 48-hour period.
The impending storm has caused a flood of Puerto Ricans to hit stores to stock up on items such as water and dry goods.
Photos and videos on social media show long lines at wholesale stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club. Shopping carts are packed with essential items. Also on social media is dialogue about how the pain that Irma and Maria caused is still very much present, and Puerto Ricans are not ready to deal with it all over again.
Frances Colon, who lives in Miami but is in the island for a wedding, shared a photo Friday morning of a line of people that spread to the parking lot of a Costco in Bayamon, just west of San Juan.
Colon told CNN that during her visit she noticed the possibility of another storm is on everyone’s minds.
“People are very aware and they want to be prepared,” Colon said.
— Frances Colón (@fcoloninFL) July 6, 2018
Gabriel Rivera-Cruz, a resident of San Juan, said they wanted to go “before people flooded the stores” to buy water and canned food in case Beryl changes it path, but to his surprise, there was already a long line of people in the store just to purchase bottled water.
“I was surprised to see the long lines,” Rivera-Cruz said. “I think the memories from (last year’s) hurricanes are so fresh that we have a clear idea of the effects and which items can be scarce or hard to find.”
“Most people I know are aware that this storm doesn’t seem to be a second Maria, but is simply a wake-up call that the hurricane season is here and we are still extremely vulnerable,” Rivera-Cruz added.
— Gabriel Rivera-Cruz (@lgabrielr) July 5, 2018
Jacksel Rodriguez captured a similar picture at a Sam’s Club store in Ponce, a city on the southern part of the island.
Rodriguez said he doesn’t think Puerto Rico is ready for another storm, “not even a small one.”
“Most of the power grid was just repaired, not updated, and the power goes out even with light winds — imagine a big storm,” Rodriguez said.
— Jacksel Rodriguez (@jackselo) July 6, 2018