Stripped: Store Shelves Emptied as Cyclone Approaches Aussies

by | Feb 2, 2011 | Emergency Preparedness | 28 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    When the residents of an entire city or region all realize a disaster has just happened or is about to take place, grocery stores are cleared of all their goods within a matter of hours:

    PANIC buying took hold across Cairns yesterday as residents brace for severe cyclone Yasi, expected to hit the Far North tonight.

    Customers stripped supermarket shelves of groceries and essential supplies as they scrambled to boost cyclone kits with batteries, torches, tinned food and bottled water.

    Masking tape, rope and generators have now been sold out at Cairns Bunnings, after customers begun pouring into the store at 6.30am yesterday.

    “We’re also low on portable gas stoves and batteries,” a spokeswoman said.

    With long lines of cars snaking along city streets yesterday, Caltex spokesman Sam Collyer said some service stations were experiencing fuel shortages.

    Barbeques Galore spokesman Ron Henderson said there was a rush of customers to his store, with more than 50 gas bottles snapped up yesterday.

    “We’ve hardly got anything left, no charcoal, fire lighters and only a few heat beads and ring burners,” he said.

    Long lines of people could be seen lining up for gas bottle refills at service stations and other stockists.

    Source: Cairns News

    If you are just starting to get emergency preparation underway in your own household, the above report should give you an idea of some mission critical emergency essentials to acquire for your reserve.

    Regardless of the type of emergency for which you are planning, a 7 to 30 day supply of food, water, basic medical gear, batteries, region appropriate clothing and shelter (tents, sleeping bags, etc.), a camping stove, and fuel reserves (for driving and off-grid cooking) should be part of any basic preparedness plan.

    For a more complete list of what happens when it hits the fan, check out These 100 Items Will Disappear First.


    Use the Snow Storm As a Test Run For the Real Thing

    Snowpocalypse: Why Being Prepared is a Good Idea

    Hat tip Suzy


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      1. Comments….. And it’s the SOS (same ole story), people waiting till the last minute to prepare.  It must be something built into the human DNA that makes people move like “what’s the hurry, I’ve got time.”  Then WTSHTF, the DNA goes into full panic mode.  I really do find it all quite humorous – okay smug  to watch people scramble when they could of had it all taken care of months ago.  But this story side-by-side to any hurricane story here in the US, and it’s still the same.  Food appears to be the biggest problem so far around the world.  So far, the US is fairing okay – except for the blizzard, but no one is starving, just freezing.  Heads up people….stay safe.

      2. Same thing just happened in Chicagoland as the huge blizzard was approaching.  Everyone was out buying food, snow shovels and rock salt.

      3. Who was it here that said he would sit in a lawn chair a while back and watch the Wally Mart people rush in?  I have my own chair…..

      4. Haven’t you ever wondered WHERE do all those snow shovels go ?   Seems like everyone would have a dozen or so of them, given the number they sell every year.

        Just as everytime you see a hurricane about to hit the coast, they show TV footage of all the plywood leaving Home Depot.  Well WHAT did ya’ll do with the plywood you put over the windows from the LAST storm ???

      5. We had a major hit from the blizzard.  Wasn’t suppose to make it to N. Michigan but it did.  We had 6 foot drifts I had to move using the old tractor and snow blower.  Couldn’t get out of the drive till noon today.  OMG!  Almost ran out of coffee and I had a hell of a time trying to keep it warm in the tractor.  It was horrible……….  I guess that was good practice for when SHTF.

      6. When I see a hurricane on the weather radar way down from the gulf in the West Indies, Cuba, etc.  I get to the store then and load up, not the day before it lands like most do.  Store shelves are stripped and it takes at least a week to restock many items.  Canned goods are best stored and rotated anyway.

      7. Yes, it’s the same every year. The snow storm comes and people are surprised and unprepared. I just don’t get it…

        We have stocked up about 6 months worth of food and personal hygiene supplies. My best friend is a consultant for a company that sells freeze dried and dehydrated food at great prices. We love the food so much we use some of it every day, even without having an emergency. They sell everything from freeze dried mushrooms, freeze dried beef and even cheese. The freeze dried fruit is unbelievably good. My daughters just eat it as a snack right out of the can. Anyway, … Just check it out Who knows what coming our way next. Natural disaster or TEOTWAKI –  it’s time to get prepared!

      8. To TnAndy and any prepper

        The plywood is stored with window location. In case of a hurricane it takes me about 30 -45 minutes to set the plywood on the windows properly.  As for the rest of the preppping since I started reading this blog, I have increased my food reserves to 6 months and growing. Usually I made it a practice every March was hurrican preparedness check, ready by the first week in April. Now I sleep better I am ready all of the time….for most emergencies.

      9. Something tells me this is the year for the generator.  Maybe a few other things.

      10. Comments…..TnAndy
        Haven’t you ever wondered WHERE do all those snow shovels go ?   Seems like everyone would have a dozen or so of them, given the number they sell every year.
        Just as everytime you see a hurricane about to hit the coast, they show TV footage of all the plywood leaving Home Depot.  Well WHAT did ya’ll do with the plywood you put over the windows from the LAST storm ???
        I bet all those shovels do not make it beyond the gayrarrge door.  Because those buying the shovel is wishfully thinking someone will come buy and dig them out..for a fee.  Well, cocoapuffers can make more money providing weed for the hood, than shoveling out seniors from the snow.  Like where do seniors need to go versus cocoapuffers who have the need to party on.  Something to think about…

      11. Breaking news…

        Senate repeals part of health care law 

        The amendment to repeal the 1099 reporting requirement passed 81-17 with broad bipartisan support.

        Precious metals investors can breath a sigh of relief…

      12. This might not help things either:

        From, China in the Midst of a Lewis Turning Point

        “(A) Beijing-based delivery company, which fills orders for Chinese-made products for overseas buyers, has no choice (but to delay orders) since most of its employees have been heading to their hometowns for weeks now. ”We have already received dozens of complaints from overseas customers after they learned that we would not be able to ship products for almost the entire month,” Zhang said”

        “…In response, (surviving) employers push up wages and benefits, creating demand-push inflation.”

      13. This winter storm that just went through the midwest was nothing. People just freak out when the power goes off. It was off for about 18 hours here. I kept things running with the generator. I used 4 gal of gas the whole time. Warmed the house up late tuesday and then shut down about midnight.

        State of “emergency” has been on for 3 days. I did go out and get 5 gal of fresh gas. No problem. Only some areas were out of power. If people call this stuff “SHTF”, its like the equivalent of one rabbit pellet hitting the fan. Even my work (A k12 schrewl district) has been shut down. I mean, offices and everything. Normally, they only let the kids and teachers stay home. But, it was “bad” enough for even the offices to close.

        Our society is so feeble. If we had widespread blackouts I don’t know what people would do.

        Anyway, I wish the people in Australia well. They have been through a lot lately.

      14. Anyone knows what’s the weather in Nebraska?
        I have a classmate working in Omaha and it seems that the web is down for a couple of days.


      15. I am just starting getting “prepared” (kind of embarrassing to be in this group of people who hoard food etc, but I thought I should maybe have a few things stocked up.  Is Ramen ok? what should I get first? I live in a tiny apt but I have an entire hall closet empty.  Should I pack it full of food or what?  Also, I found these water bags made of mylar, any suggestions good or bad?

        any help is appreciated. like I said i feel a little foolish of this desire to hoard a little…ugh! anyone else in the same boat?

      16. Just about the same thing happened here in Georgia in January when we got our second “big” snow storm of the season (big for GA standards).  I went into the grocery for a routine shopping trip and people were in there wild-eye’d grabbing candles, oil lamps, batteries, milk, bread, water etc.  The shelves were half empty.  I left and came back a few days later. 

        Later that day my husband & I went to Lowes and Home Depot in search of a few things (non storm related).  While there we noticed that all the kerosene & propane heaters had been cleared off the shelves in anticipation of snow storm power loss (those same unprepared folks probably returned them 3 or 4 days later when the realized they didn’t need them).

        This reaction for only 6-9 inches of snow!  Imagine if it was a real disaster.  The wild-eyed look would be replaced by pushing & shoving or worse. 

        I want no part of that.

      17. @ GhOST Address

        No need to be embarassed.  It never hurts to stock up.  Even if you “justify” it as saving money because of food inflation.  It is the smart thing to do.  And lucky you!  You have a whole closet!  I’d pack it full to the very top.  You can also store under all your beds.

        As far as what to store.  Ramen noodles have a very short shelf life.  I would go light on those & rotate them out quickly.

        Focus on canned food – pasta, meat (ham, tuna, vienna sausages), veggies, beans, fruit etc.  We are now only buying canned items with a Q4 2013 or later date.  Their shelf life is unbelievably long.  Make sure the cans have no dents and look for them when they are on sale & then buy 20 or 30 of them.

        You should have plenty of rice & beans.  You can store corn & wheat but you need a grinder for that so if you are just getting started it probably wouldn’t be the best thing to start with.

        You can store some freeze dried food in #10 cans.  Someone above posted a web site for some.  I’ve been ordering from Honeyville.  Their prices are good & shipping is cheap.  Milk is a good thing to get & it has a decent shelf life when canned.

        Regarding water.  You can buy flats of bottled water (again, watch the shelf life, usually only good for 12-18 mos).  You can store water in washed & bleached 2 litre bottles (just change out the water every so often & date everything).  We also have a great water filter system – a katadyn filter.  I figure if things get really bad I can mosey over to the ponds in our neighborhood, the river or use rain water and filter it for drinking.

        Only store stuff you know you will eat.  Otherwise you are wasting your money.

        One last suggestion.  If you are really, really serious.  I started a spreadsheet.  I log every item I get & it’s calorie content.  It’s easier than it sounds.  If you have 30 cans of spaghetti o’s you don’t need to enter it 30 times.  You only need one line for it and you change the cell from 14 to 28 to 30 to 40 and it updates the total “spagetti o” calorie count.  That lets me know how I am doing. 

        Right now I have about 3 1/2 million calories stored so with that and our garden I think our family of  4 is easily good for more than a year – I’m guessing about 1 1/2 years.  You need about 2200 calories per day per adult or about 800,000 calories.

        Good Luck!!!

      18. GhOST Address, In any endeavor, individuals who don’t go along with the herd are often made to look and feel foolish by those in the herd for not being one of them and accepting the prevailing train of thought no matter how detrimental it is to ones well being. It’s also how tyrants maintain their positions of power over the masses.

        You might want to at least consider the not-so-common viewpoints and info in this article:

        Food Storage Program for Paleo Dieters

        Also, I noticed GA Mom said, “Regarding water.  You can buy flats of bottled water (again, watch the shelf life, usually only good for 12-18 mos).”

        I don’t think that is correct, here are just two examples counter to that advise:

        “Although bottled water has an expiration date, it doesn’t actually go bad.”

        “…as long as properly bottled water is not open, it should be safe to drink,…”

      19. GA Mom – EXCELLENT advice. Canned food is easy to store and practical; I’d say most canned goods (well, the ones I tend to buy) can be eaten right out of the can, push comes to shove. I have many cans of chicken breast (and these are larger than average cans, from a wholesaler); at least 30 cans of black beans; several cans of stew (which I eat often and always get more of); frozen foods; lots of rice. And a large box of pasta which I’m probably going to mylar-store. And, I too own a Katadyn filter.
        And I’m only getting started. I’m fortunate to live alone in the sense I need only feed myself. I plan to at least double my current stockpile of food within the next few weeks.
        Some friends once visited me and went into my kitchen and chuckled when they saw the many cans on the shelves, and made a wisecrack about me building a nuclear fallout shelter. They have no idea how ironic that statement given the reasons I’m investing in these preparations – I’m not expecting a nuclear war, but a crisis or dangerous situation need not involve nukes to necessitate preparations.

      20. clark, that’s good to know about water expiration date, I hope they are right!  In any case, you can always filter it before you drink it (or boil it) if you are worried.  We just rotate it out.  When we buy a new one, the oldest one gets used.  We’ve got about 40 flats of water bottles ($3.98 each@Walmart).

        Safeman.  Thanks!  Chicken & pasta are good ideas as well as the stew you mentioned. We have lots of cans of Dinty Moore & Castleberry (I think).  I like them because they are a complete meal – meat, potatoes & veggies all in one.    Easy & simple.  And the boys love them.

      21. GA Mom, I’m a huge fan of Dinty Moore stew. I often take it to work as lunch – filling and hearty (Especially in winter) and it’s so much cheaper than spending $5 to $7 (or more) at local delis, etc.

      22. There is nothing to worry about.  This type of thing will never happen here!

        Where I live, there has never been a catastrophe or store-shelf-clearing event.  The worst is just a day or two with 8 inches of snow.  A lot of us will race to the store to stock up on hot cocoa and snacks so we can watch the snowfall in front of the fireplace with a freshly opened bag of cocoa puffs. 

        Supposedly, we are overdue for a huge earthquake here.  But in my loooong 32 year life, there haven’t been any.  My point is that it is hard to believe anything bad could ever happen when the past has been so easy.  Sometimes, that reality makes me really feel crazy when I am buying a 50 lb bag of rice, or canning all our leftover pumpkins from Halloween. 

      23. Thanks for making an article out of this, Mark. I’m in it, so I wanted you guys to have a look at the situation. I’ve learned a lot about human nature. As i said in a previous post about the Queensland floods, I no longer use the word ‘sheeple’ because I’ve seen the behaviour first hand, and am more comfortable with ‘pigple’.

        Sheep don’t march around stating how many lambs they have to feed, before taking all the grass in the field and leaving nothing for the other sheep. As anyone in retail would have heard: “I don’t care if you don’t stock it, I need it NOW!” “I have X number of food hoovering piglets to feed! Hear me? X NUMBER!” And yes, it is outrageous that due to an entire farm region being under 12ft of water, that you can’t get the gourmet tomatoes you wanted. No…(sigh)… I don’t know when they’ll be available.

        (p.s., any agricultural preppers calculate that for me? How long does it take for 12ft of flood waters on mostly level poorly drained soil to go down completely and then be able to produce gourmet tomatoes, to be trucked a couple of hundred miles to the dowager empress over here?)

        I’m an Aussie prepper, who is also a checkout girl at the local supermarket. My partner works at the local hardware warehouse. Our state has had months of floods and now a tornado, and we see it from all points of view. The thing is, for one, no one in Australia has a gun, unless they live out on a farm and use it to get rid of stray dogs, or to help out dying cattle. The only guns i’ve ever seen in my life were hanging from police officers belts, and I’ve never seen them draw one. I can only speak for myself of course. There are gun owners who shoot at targets at gun clubs, but that’s about it. SHTF scenarios without guns are a bit different.

        Our main SHTF risks are mostly weather related. The infamous hole in the ozone layer was right over our heads. Warming of sea temperatures has led to more volatile weather, which we didn’t need because the weather is unpredictable enough. Like some parts of middle America, we actually have “storm season”.

        This is a particularly bad year, the worst in generations. We’re going to feel it at the checkout. We’re going to feel it everywhere. I’m prepping as much as I can, but it’s a bit too late, and we’re pretty broke. We may even be a cautionary tale. 🙁

      24. Sorry Mac, I should have said “Thanks Mac”, not Mark. I read it wrong. x

      25. “SHTF scenarios without guns Are a bit different.”

        “Our main SHTF risks are mostly weather related.”

        Those comments reminded me of these bits of news:

        Family attacked by hammer gang

        “THREE masked men smashed their way into a house before launching a brutal hammer attack on a terrified family.”

        “They did not steal anything and the motive for the attack is unknown.”

        “Another resident said: “We’ve been assured by police that this has never happened here before…” –

        Addlestone family attacked at home by masked men

        “After breaking down the door, a substance was sprayed in the property and a 45-year-old woman suffered minor cuts to her face and hands by what is believed to have been a knife.
        A woman and man both in their 20s also suffered cuts and bruises.”

        “Two mobile phones were taken during the incident and the suspects are thought to have left the scene in a dark coloured BMW car.

        A neighbour who did not want to be named said: “It’s usually quite quiet around here…”

        You don’t expect this to happen in a sleepy area like this.” –

        ANOTHER family has been attacked while walking through Trowbridge Town Park.

        “The family were walking through the park at about 6.45pm last night when they said they were beaten up by a gang of youths.

        The mother suffered serious facial injuries and bruising while the dad lost several teeth.

        The attack comes less than two months after the family of senior fire officer… came under attack by a gang of youths in the park.

        Dad-of-two… was also left badly injured after being beaten up by a gang in the park in April.

        Earlier this month 41-year-old… was attacked in the town centre while enjoying a night out with his fiancée.” –

        4 Feb 2011

        “Hundreds of people are to march in memory of a student murdered in a “senseless” knife attack as he walked home.”

        “It is understood [he] was stabbed after refusing to hand-over his wallet. Police would only confirm robbery was a possible motive.” –

        Burqa case man attacked

        “The daughter of the man at the centre of the burqa court case who was attacked earlier today said the family had repeatedly warned police about vandalism to their property and death threats.

        But police are saying there is no evidence the family reported death threats to them.

        …speaking outside Fremantle Hospital where her father… was taken this morning, said the attack was the last straw.

        She said police should have acted on the family’s concerns and protected [him] saying the attack was preventable.” –

        “Two assailants broke into a man’s trailer and attacked him with a swordfish swordfish in eastern Australia early Wednesday, leaving the victim with cuts to his arms, back and hands, police said.

        The victim, who was not identified, claimed the two suspects assaulted him with the serrated serrated sword-like bill during a home invasion home invasion in the eastern city of Bundaberg, Queensland state police said.” –

        “Almost 7700 Victorians have been taken to hospital… after being attacked by dogs.” –

        See Indian attacks in context: Australian PM

        “Krishna urged Australia to bring the attackers to book and to put in place “effective security measures” that will increase the sense of well-being among Indians in that country.

        Relations between India and Australia came under a strain following a string of attacks on Indians, including the fatal stabbing… in Melbourne Jan 2.”

        “…acts of violence in particular parts of our large cities at any given time of the day.

        “I think it’s important to keep all this into its context.”” –

        Context, not-so-funny that, it seems it’s all about disarming the population and trying to convince them they are under the protection of goberment, as if it were possible. The only result is people become victims, notably due to lack of a SHTFPLAN and the means to defend themselves.

        “Many of those involved in planning the 1994 genocide saw themselves as patriots, defending their country against outside aggression. [Others] who supported peace… also became their targets.”

        “…hacked to death with machetes at roadside…”

        “Government radio encouraged Tutsis to congregate at churches, schools, and stadiums, pledging that these would serve as places of refuge. Thus concentrated, the helpless civilians could be more easily targeted — although many miraculously managed to resist with only sticks and stones for days or even weeks, until the forces of the Rwandan army and presidential guard were brought in to exterminate them with machine-guns and grenades. By April 21 — that is, in just two weeks — perhaps a quarter of a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus had been slaughtered.” –

      26. Yes! Guns aren’t the only thing that people can use to hurt one another. Dirty great big cyclones cause most of the damage in tropical areas, but mainly serve to bring the community closer, as everyone pulls together to help out. Sure, there are isolated cases of looting, but you get that in areas where peoples belongings are left unattended. There was a damaged liquor store that was emptied by a couple of looters after the cyclone as well.

        I’m not an economist, but our dollar has a lot of real worth to back it up. We’re heavy in mining (gold, iron ore, industrial diamonds etc) and agricultural exports. We import food, but we’re a net exporter of food, so could stand alone fairly easily if we had to. We’re obviously smaller, so its no surprise we aren’t carrying anything like the debt burden of the US, at a government level. We have a trade deficit at the moment, but could amply return to surplus in a couple of years. (emphasis on the ‘could’). Still, its better than the spectre of possible multi-generational debt burden.

        I know its possible to kill someone with a bucket of water, but if the S really HTF I would probably prefer more than that with which to defend my home. BUT, if very few other people have guns, in that situation, it’s less of a worry than if everyone had them or if I was the only one who didn’t.

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