It’s too late to buy a home generator and other Irma updates

Homewood Alabama
Empty shelves for generators at the Lowe’s in Homewood – Photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

In 2012, Arthur Yancey, a specialist at Lowe’s in Homewood, remembers people from New Jersey acquiring home generators from the Lakeshore location for Hurricane Sandy.

Five years later, while Birmingham awaits a downgraded tropical storm Irma to arrive, less than a handful of generators remain in stock at all Lowes stores throughout Alabama.

For example, for Lowe’s most expensive generator they stock, there is only one generator available for the entire state.

“If you are going to need one it’s too late,” stated Yancey.

Additional inventory for other emergency supplies were more hit and miss.  At the Lowe’s Homewood store the large gas cans were sold out, while at the Bessemer store, they had 200 cans in stock. The Homewood store had plenty of water stocked, batteries and flashlights. It is recommended you call your local store to check on inventory before you venture out.

Birmingham Alabama
No large gas cans in stock at the Lowes in Homewood – photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

Need an emergency supplies checklist? Visit Ready Alabama to learn how to “build” a  kit and be prepared.

Latest on Irma in Alabama

The U.S. National Weather Service in Birmingham still has Eastern Alabama under a Tropical Storm Warning as of 2:35am today.  As you can see on the map, Jefferson and Shelby counties are still under a Tropical Storm Watch.

Birmingham Alabama
Latest U.S. National Weather Tropical Storm Warning/Watch map for Central and Eastern Alabama. This map was last updated at 2:35am on September 11th.

One of the biggest concerns with the upcoming storm are peak “wind gusts.”  The NWS map below provides us an idea what to expect.

Birmingham Alabama
From the National Weather Service – expected peak wind gusts

For a good statewide perspective on Tropical Storm Irma in Alabama, visit and bookmark the Raycom weather (this is the joint effort by Raycom television stations  from WBRC Fox 6 and Montgomery & Huntsville stations) First Alert Update.  The latest posting is by Fox 6’s Mickey Ferguson.

School closings

As reported by Bham Now last night, most area schools are closed today.  Make sure to check the local listings. Several school systems only cancelled school for Monday.

Back to normal

According to various weather reports, by Wednesday and Thursday the weather will improve significantly. By the weekend, it looks like we’ll have 0% chance for rain and sunshine.

By then you seek out that new home generator you needed earlier this week.


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Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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