ST. LOUIS – Hurricane Ian continues to get stronger as it heads for Cuba, but later in the week it’ll impact the Gulf Coast, which has Floridians busy preparing for their first hurricane of the season. 

Hurricane Ian could become a major hurricane as it heads for the Florida coastline. In Panama City, hurricane preparedness supplies are flying off the shelves. A couple from Michigan, Ben and Sue Langman, who are new to the Florida panhandle, aren’t quite sure what to expect. 

“When we were up north you knew don’t drive, don’t this, don’t that, but people didn’t die, you know?” the Langman’s said. “So, we have no idea is this life-threatening? Is it just inconvenient? We don’t know. Right, we don’t know.”

They haven’t had much luck finding supplies. At one Home Depot location, 30 generators were cleared within five minutes. 

“Everybody’s out of generators right now,” Sue said. 

“It’s just it’s crazy right now. It’s crazy,” said Jack Milam, a Home Depot customer service specialist. 

Bottled of water is another item nearly impossible to find. With an estimated 700 cases bought in one day at one Panama City Home Depot. 

The bottled water shortage continues down the coast. Farther south in Tampa, there’s just empty shelves where the water used to be. 

As the threat of strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge and even tornadoes appear imminent along much of the western coast, officials in Tampa are urging some residents to evacuate, calling for a mandatory evacuation of residents in Zone A. 

Zone A includes vulnerable and low-lying areas prone to flooding like St. Petersburg and Gulf Coast Beach areas including Clearwater. 

“As a result, in order to protect residents we are issuing a mandatory evacuation order for Zone A, recommending a voluntary evacuation for Zone B and opening emergency shelters,” said Bonnie Wise, the Hillsborough County administrator. 

“This isn’t a time for panic. This is a time to be prepared and execute those hurricane plans or make a plan,” said Chad Chronister, the Hillsborough County sheriff. “We can replace anything in life, but we can’t replace a life. And the life you be, may be saving, may be the life of your own.”

The impacts from the hurricane are expected to ramp up in the Tampa Bay area by Wednesday morning.