Shortly after Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction in the Caribbean, Florida residents flocked to stores to stock up on food and supplies to prepare for the impending Category 5 storm. Last-minute shoppers should hurry as supermarket chain Publix announced that it will close stores. 

Experts categorized Hurricane Irma as the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, as it barreled through the Caribbean with maximum sustained winds of up to 185 miles per hour Thursday. 

South Florida residents stocked up in preparation for the storm but late-comers may be out of luck, as Publix announced Thursday that it will adjust store hours and close several locations due to the storm.

"Due to Hurricane Irma, several of our stores in South Florida will be adjusting their operating hours," the Publix website read.

The supermarket chain said it planned to alter store hours at certain locations as well as close several South Florida locations come noon Saturday. Locations in Miami-Dade and Broward will close Friday at 9 p.m. Palm Beach Locations will close Saturday at 12 p.m., according to the store.

Altogether, the supermarket chain will close 77 locations in Miami-Dade, 77 locations in Broward, and 69 locations in Palm Beach County. However, Publix’s Winn-Dixie location hasn’t announced exact closing times.

"We will continue to stock our stores and keep them open as long as we can do so safely for our associates," Joe Caldwell, Southeastern Grocers corporate communications manager told the Miami Herald. "Every store is different, but there is no ‘cut off’ time for deliveries — they’ll be made as long as there’s staffing and it’s safe to do so."

Management at the Hollywood location allowed patrons into the store at 6.a.m., an hour before the store’s usual opening time, ABC-affiliated WPLG reported Thursday.

However, when south Florida residents flocked to Publix to stock up on supplies, they discovered that the store had run out of most essentials. The store ran out of bottled water though Publix stores announced that it will restock inventory Thursday to keep up with demand.

"It's been like my fifth trip to the store. I've been up since 1:30 this morning getting gas for two vehicles and watching the news," one customer, Karen Exterkamp, told WPLG. "I'm having a hard time getting water, so I'm happy I got that."

Publix limited shoppers to four one-gallon containers of water per person to ensure that every customer received water. Managers said that delivery trucks will be coming to the store Thursday to stock water and other essentials.

Supermarket chain Food Lion also experienced an uptick in customers looking to stock up ahead of the storm. Shoppers are stockpiling items like canned meat, water, charcoal, batteries, bread and ice, spokeswoman Christy told the Charlotte Observer. She added that Food Lion will work closely with its vendors to ensure that essentials are continuously restocked.

"We are providing additional shipments of water, food, batteries and other items to our stores to help ensure product availability for our customers, as well as preparing our stores to minimize any impact from Hurricane Irma," Phillips-Brown said.