The shelves that hold bottled water at a Tampa Sweetbay location Saturday morning told the story.
Customers were buying the precious liquid as fast as store employees could bring it out.
"It feels like a hurricane is coming," said Sweetbay manager John Orozco. "Folks are coming in stocking up like [they are preparing for] a hurricane."
On Friday the City of Tampa Water Department issued a boil water notice, meaning that water coming out of the tap is not suitable for consumption.
Maria Silva was stocking up unsure of how long the boil water notice would be in effect.
"[My family is] very concerned because you can get very sick on that," Silva explained.
Consumption of tainted water can result in vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps or even worse. Residents who are very young, very old and are in poor health have to be especially careful.
"That's why I got a bunch of TV dinners," said Sweetbay shopper Blanche Stoutmeyer. "That way I don't have to use water to cook."
Most of the Starbucks locations within Tampa's city limits weren't serving coffee on Saturday. Convenience stores and gas stations had to turn off their fountain drink servers.
"[Starbucks] was very quiet," said Sandy Lemay. "Most Saturday mornings it would be packed."
Here's what you need to know to get through the weekend if you are a Tampa Water customer:
- Officials recommend a rolling boil of at least one minute should you wish to use the water for cooking or ingesting of any kind.
Showering is fine but be residents should be careful not to let the spray from the water soak into any open wounds. Also be sure to use bottled water when brushing your teeth; and don't give tap water to pets because they too could get sick.
"The main thing people need to be most concerned about is protecting themselves," says Steve Huard, Public Information Officer with the Hillsborough County Health Department.
Although the David L. Tippin Water Treatment Facility is back online following Friday's mishap, the advisory will remain in effect until Sunday.
Health officials began re-testing the water early Saturday but the results won't be available until Sunday. The boil water notice will not be lifted until the water is once again deemed safe for consumption.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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