Residents of Wilmington, North Carolina, battered by Hurricane Florence, began cleaning up the disaster left by 100 mph winds and torrential rains on Saturday morning, and went shopping.
At 10 a. M., The news spread like wildfire that, despite widespread electrical disruptions, a miserable grocery store was open throughout the historic port city of 120,000 residents.
And in a matter of minutes, several thousand people descended on the store, a Harris Teeter supermarket.
"It was a crazy house here," said Wilmington police officer Don Oakes. "I do not know how everyone heard that the place was open, but the parking lot was paralyzed, and when we saw the number of people, we asked for a backup for crowd control."
Thousands of people visited Harris Teeter in Wilmington, North Carolina, after news circulated that the store was open despite the
Buyers full of water bottles along with junk food to help see the storm
And what were the people who supposedly had been prepared for before the hurricane?
"The essentials," said Oakes. & # 39; Cigarettes and beer and junk food & # 39;
A line estimated to last three to four hours stretched out of the store and around the building while Teeter managers let in a handful of people at a time. Almost 15 policemen made sure that no one got out of control and chased the impatient guys who jumped in line.
The police had to stop some buyers who tried to stand in line while waiting times continued.
"We just want some water and …" Rayquan Robinson said when the police forced him to cut in line, something that caused a group to cheer the officer.
Melissa Harris and her husband drove 30 minutes from Hampstead, one of the most affected areas, to get some supplies.
"We were in the car assessing the damage when someone on the radio said that Harris Teeter was open," Harris said. "So we came for fries, donuts, cereals, cold cuts and muffins, and my husband needs his cigarettes.
Some buyers traveled up to 30 minutes on the road to try to get supplies and the waiting times were up to four hours
They called the police to help manage the lines with up to 15 officers who help with crowd control
Elsewhere in the line, Brenda Deval and her ginger chihuahua approached the store.
She lives in the Forest Hills area of the city, where a woman and her young son were crushed to death on Friday when the hurricane blew a giant oak tree in her home.
"It was crazy," he said. "The wind sounded like there was a freight train outside the door, there's a big hole in my roof, but at least we're not hurt.
Deval said he lined up to supplement the food that is already in his house.
"We are receiving boys who help us clean up the disaster," he said. & # 39; So I'm getting extra food. I can not pay for them, but at least I'll feed them. "
The rest of the stores are expected to open Sunday morning throughout Wilmington.
Heavy rains hit buyers who braved extreme weather and unfavorable traffic to get supplies
Many families challenged the elements and their efforts were rewarded with refreshments and sweets