JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (June 1, 2010) – Today marks the beginning of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, which experts say will be an “active to extremely active” year for tropical activity with up to 23 named storms, eight to 14 of which are predicted to become hurricanes. With that in mind, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: WINN) is urging individuals and businesses to plan now in the event a tropical storm threatens.
The Jacksonville-based grocer is following its own advice by equipping 109 of its stores with 500-kilowatt, diesel-powered generators so that the stores can operate during a power outage. The stores are in areas that have been affected by power outages associated with hurricanes and tropical storms in recent years. (Complete list below) The company also has equipped its regional distribution centers in Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville 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, Winn-Dixie’s director of media and public relations. “They enable our stores to remain open in the aftermath of a hurricane or tropical storm, even if local power has not been restored.”
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,” said 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 non-perishable foods, paper products, flashlights and batteries to last at least three days in case a tropical storm knocks out power. Experts suggest keeping on hand one gallon of water per person per day, along with food and first aid supplies.