Despite being reduced to a Category 2 storm, Hurricane Florence is still expected to bring destructive winds, potential flooding and storm surge to areas along the Eastern Seaboard. Winds are on pace at 74 miles per hour as the storm nears the Southeast. Parts of North and South Carolina, as well as Virginia, are expected to be battered by tremendous rainfall by Thursday evening.
Although residents in the Southeast were encouraged to evacuate after governors in both North and South Carolina issued state of emergency warnings, more than one million residents have reportedly stayed in their homes. There are fears residents may be affected by power outages and exposed to contaminated water due to the storm.
Anheuser-Busch sent 300,000 cans of clean water to those potentially in jeopardy of contaminated water. A brewery located in Cartersville, Georgia, responded to the American Red Cross’s call to halt beer production in an effort to get clean water to communities in North and South Carolina.
A second Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, is on standby should emergency water be needed.
“For the last 30 years, we have been working with the American Red Cross and our wholesaler partners to provide clean, safe drinking water for communities hit by natural disasters,” the company’s CEO Michel Doukeris said in a statement Wednesday. “Earlier this year, we recognized the employees who help make the program possible in Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial and made a new commitment to expand our capacity to produce safe, clean drinking water for disaster relief at our Fort Collins Brewery. Today, we are pleased to deliver on that promise, doubling our production capacity to help our fellow Americans in times of need.”
Anheuser-Busch has donated approximately 79 million cans of emergency water to areas affected by natural disasters since 1988, Doukeris noted.
Residents in the Carolinas were encouraged to prepare for potential water emergencies by purchasing water bottles and by storing tap water in cleaned, recycled cartons like ones used to store milk and juice. Storing drinkable fountain water in bathtubs and sinks is discouraged, because water can be contaminated by lead leaking into the bathtubs and sinks, according to the Red Cross. Water stored in bathtubs and sinks is considered safe for toilet flushing and washing floors, clothes and things of that nature.
Officials warned of the possibility of contaminated water running into homes and threatening clean drinking water supplies, although no contamination has been noted yet. The hurricane’s heavy rain could cause an environmental disaster in rural areas of the Carolinas where hog manure pits, coal ash dumps and various other industrial sites reside.
As for Virginia, preparation was advised, although the state isn’t expected to be as affected by the hurricane as North and South Carolina.
People located in each of the states are able to continue drinking tap water during the hurricane unless water suppliers notify otherwise.