COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A major winter storm impacting the holiday weekend is just hours away, and emergency management officials are warning residents to be ready when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Jeff Young said now is the time to think about what you need to stay home when it comes to this storm.

Employees at Beechwold Ace Hardware have been restocking the shelves all week as residents have been stocking up on the essentials.

“Really seen an uptick in people getting snow shovels, ice melt, de-icer,” said Patrick Moore, the co-owner of the store.  

He said customers are searching for a way to get rid of the ice and stay warm in case of an emergency.

“All of our generators have already sold out and we can’t get anything until next week, so the best thing is to call around if you need one and see who still has them in stock,” Moore said. “They typically go very fast during these times.”

Young said those are his big concerns as well.

“We’re hopeful that the utility grid stays intact,” he said. “I think our partners are forward-leaning in preparing for all of that.”

Young says people should avoid going out at all costs during and following the storm, allowing road crews to do their jobs.  He also recommends people charge their phones, have working flashlights readily available, and bundle up.

With the strong wind expected to accompany this week’s storm, Young also said residents may want to consider packing up outside holiday decorations that could go airborne, like inflatables.

“Don’t put anything out at risk blowing on the roadway, you know, going airborne, getting into trees, getting into power lines,” Young said. “All of them put us at risk.”

For his part, Moore said the store is ready to weather the storm.

“I think we’re pretty prepared, at least for this first initial onslaught,” he said.

One final tip from Young: Make sure your pets are inside and accounted for during the storm.