‘Just in case:’ As Tropical Storm Hilary makes its approach, shoppers load up – Orange County Register


Jose Lopez and Maria Lopez of Moreno Valley purchased lighting at the Costco on Day Street in Moreno Valley on Aug. 20, 2023, in case the electricity went out during Tropical Storm Hilary. (Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
Jose Lopez and Maria Lopez of Moreno Valley purchased lighting at the Costco on Day Street in Moreno Valley on Aug. 20, 2023, in case the electricity went out during Tropical Storm Hilary. (Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Fifteen-year-old Christian Washington of Moreno Valley labored to push a flatbed cart to his mother’s car on Sunday, Aug. 20.

It was loaded with 16 cases of 40-count bottles of water — that’s 840 bottles — that Keisha Washington had just purchased at the Costco on Day Street in Moreno Valley.

“We want to be prepared, just in case,” said Washington, 39, who for good measure bought five cases of Capri Sun fruit juice.

She said the unusually humid weather “feels like Florida. It feels icky and sticky.”

While the scene at the noon hour at this Costco lacked the long lines and towering carts of toilet paper, paper towels and water seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers nevertheless were mindful that Tropical Storm Hilary could be troublesome. Employees lugged pallet after pallet of water onto the sales floor, and shoppers would grab a case or two. (Or 16).

A few shoppers interviewed said they were doing mostly regular shopping, with maybe an extra case of water thrown into the cart. At Costco, where even if you just buy one of something, it can appear that you are stocking up for the winter, it’s difficult to conclude without asking.

“No panicking,” said one woman while loading two cases of water into her car.

Jose Lopez and wife Maria Lopez of Moreno Valley were also doing their normal shopping Saturday except that they purchased a rechargeable flashlight and a tripod-mounted LED light.

Two other shoppers, John Valdivia and Jessica Valdivia of Moreno Valley, rushed to load their car while the rain held.

“It’s the calm before the storm,” Jessica Valdivia said, about a half hour before the wind picked up and the sky fell.

Heavy rain was expected to lead to flash flooding in some mountain and foothill areas, along with powerful winds Sunday into Monday. The heaviest rainfall in the Inland Empire was expected to start around noon on Sunday. Desert and mountain areas were of the most concern.

Riverside County officials issued evacuation warnings for Beaumont, Banning, Hemet and Highland Springs, asking residents to leave before the worst of the Tropical Storm Hilary hits this afternoon.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.



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