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Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. is planning for the upcoming hurricane season — which is expected to be a rough one — by equipping 109 of its stores with 500-kilowatt, diesel-powered generators so that the locations can operate in case of a power outage.
The company also has equipped its regional distribution centers in Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Fla., and Hammond, La., with generators so that stores can be quickly restocked after any storms.
“The installation of these powerful generators allows us to be better prepared and serve our customers in the event of a storm,” said Robin Miller, director of media and public relations for the Jacksonville, Fla.-based chain. “They enable our stores to remain open in the aftermath of a hurricane or tropical storm, even if local power has not been restored.”
Yesterday marked the beginning of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a 70 percent probability of 14 to 23 named storms with eight to 14 developing into hurricanes (winds of 74 miles per hour or higher) and up to seven intensifying to major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with winds of at least 111 mph).
In April, Colorado State University researchers William Gray and Phil Klotzbach predicted that El Niño conditions will dissipate and unusually warm tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures will persist, leading to favorable conditions for hurricanes to develop and intensify. They predict that of the eight expected hurricanes, four will strengthen to Category 3 or higher.
“Now is the time to prepare for this year’s hurricane season,” added Miller. “Our neighborhood stores are stocked with the key items to help our customers get ready.”
Miller noted that the American Red Cross and emergency management officials urge people to have a “hurricane kit” with enough medicine, bottled water, canned and nonperishable foods, paper products, flashlights, and batteries to last at least three days if a tropical storm knocks out power. Experts suggest keeping on hand 1 gallon of water per person per day, along with food and first-aid supplies.
Winn-Dixie operates 515 retail grocery locations, including more than 400 in-store pharmacies, in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi.