Puerto Rico has imposed a rationing of basic supplies including water and baby formula as Hurricane Maria approaches as a Category 3 storm.
Officials said Monday that the rationing is necessary to ensure everyone has access to basic items such as batteries, milk, canned foods, flashlights and other things. It does not apply to gasoline or other fuels.
Shelves at many stores were emptying out quickly as people rushed to finalize hurricane preparations. Many posted desperate pleas on social media for help in finding certain items.
Officials said some stores already were imposing their own rationing measures and stressed that more merchandise was scheduled to arrive on Monday to replenish shelves.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says that Hurricane Maria has strengthened to a Category 3 storm as it headed toward the Caribbean.
Maria on Monday was "rapidly" intensifying into a major hurricane. The eye is expected to move through the Leeward Islands later Monday. The storm's center was about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Martinique, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph).
The storm is on a path that would take it near many of the islands wrecked by Hurricane Irma and on toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Hurricane warnings were posted for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique.