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Maui residents calm before Tropical Storm Flossie

WAILUKU, Maui — Maui seems to have taken its storm preparations seriously as an eerie calm — and no signs of panic buying — settled over the island this morning.

Traffic was uncharacteristically light through the usually busy Central Maui corridors, no lines were seen at gas stations and there was plenty of parking at stores.

Sunday was a different story, as residents jammed grocery and hardware stores to stock up on the necessities: water, rice, batteries, canned goods and toilet paper. A clerk at the Longs Drug Store in Wailuku, where fewer than a dozen customers were in the aisles at 8 a.m. today, said the store experienced nonstop business until its midnight closing.

Only a few single water bottles remained on the shelves this morning and other stores also were sold out of cases. However there were pallets of the precious liquid on sale at the well-stocked Safeway in Kahului despite the previous day's crush.

"It was killer," said cashier Leonie Aguiran, a 30-year Safeway employee. "All the checkout stands were open and people were in line all the way back to the meat department (at the back of the store)."

Rick Hanks, wearing a Goodyear shirt, was among a steady but light stream of customers dropping by the store this morning. He loaded a couple of cases of water and a pack toilet paper into his pickup truck for his workplace on Alamaha Street.

"They told me to go out and get this.This is the extent of our preparations," he joked.

The auto tire and repair shop was open for business and was going to "play it by ear" the rest of the day, Hanks said.

"Believe it or not there's not a lot of people coming in."

Tropical Storm Flossie was just off the Big Island this morning, but is projected to move northwest over Maui this afternoon.



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