On Friday, as it was thrashing the central Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of up to 130 mph, Joaquin was upgraded by the National Hurricane Center to "an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane" expected to make its way to the United States over the next few days.
Even if the storm doesn't make landfall in the U.S., there are flood warnings posted for many states along the East Coast, with significant rainfall and flooding already underway in some areas.
In a Periscope tour at the National Hurricane Center, Matthew Green, FEMA's Hurricane Liaison Team Manager, urged those in Hurricane Joaquin's path to be sure to review the agency's hurricane preparedness tips and to keep an eye on hurricanes.gov for updates and alerts.
More from NBC News:
And those without disasters kit already in place were being urged to start doing that now:
Thursday night and early Friday morning, some shoppers found shelves in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and in New England already bare:
Meanwhile, in Alexandria, Virginia, a helpful Chamber of Commerce pointed shoppers to supermarkets with stocked shelves:
Elsewhere, people were making lists and scrambling for items they considered storm essentials:
And some who have been through storms — and storm shopping before - urged others to just relax and chill out: