FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 file photo, Joe Gore, left, and Joshua Adcock prepare for Hurricane Florence as they board up windows on a home in Emerald Isle N.C. Before and after a hurricane, Ace is the place. And Home Depot, Lowe’s, and many other hardware and building supply outlets. Not surprisingly, these companies plan for storms such as Hurricane Florence all year. (AP Photo/Tom Copeland, File)

Before and after a storm, the supply stores are critical

September 15, 2018 - 10:27 pm

MIAMI (AP) — Before and after a hurricane, Ace is the place. And Home Depot and Lowe's. And many other hardware and building supply outlets.

Not surprisingly, these companies plan for storms such as Hurricane Florence all year. Much like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, supplies are pre-positioned and trucks loaded and ready to go with everything from batteries to gas cans to tarps to chainsaws.

Here's the thing: the government can only do so much. Most people must fend for themselves at some point, and the local hardware or building supply store is where they go. Not everything is available easily online. Try to buy some drywall that way.

"It's a year-round thing for us," said

Margaret Smith, spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Home Depot, says: "When it's hurricane season, we are operating 24 hours a day."