Hurricane Isaac plows ahead in the Gulf

Home Depot's disaster response command center in Atlanta

A slow-moving Hurricane Isaac is bad news for the people of the Gulf Coast, according to Thursday morning weather reports. 

By one estimate, Isaac could cause as much as $1.5 billion in insured losses. Nearly 650,000 people in the area are without power in the Gulf region and Arkansas.

Retail companies and distributors have mobilized.

At Shreveport, La.-based distributor HDW, emergency procedures were implemented that included pre-event deliveries into storm areas earlier this week. 

“Truckloads of generators were delivered to our customers as late as 2 a.m. Wednesday morning,” said Kenny Beauvais. “They all had customers in line to purchase units as they were being unloaded.”

Yesterday the distributor was preparing special deliveries for retailers that were expecting to reopen.

Yesterday, a Lowe’s spokeswoman told Home Channel News that 22 stores had been closed in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi. “These stores will re-open as conditions improve and it is safe for employees to re-enter our stores,” the spokeswoman said. 

Lowe’s has moved more than 500 truckloads of products to support areas from southern Florida to Louisiana.

The Home Depot also adjusted hours -- shortening some stores and extending others -- as a result of the storm. The company set up an Isaac Operations Update page.

The page says: “While it is our goal to remain open to serve the needs of impacted communities, we operate with the safety of our customers and associates first.”

An evacuation order remained in place for the location in La Place, La., according to the update page.

"We've dealt with this storm from our stores in USVI, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and our response plan ran very smoothly," said a Home Depot spokesman. 

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