HARLINGEN — Clearing skies over the region’s big warehousing centers are sending food trucks rolling to restock grocery stores after Texas’ record freeze broke the state’s supply chain.

Earlier this week, icy roads and widespread power outages cut a “severe disruption” in the food supply line, stripping grocery store shelves.

But on Friday, H-E-B’s tractor-trailers were back on the road to restock stores after their meat freezers cleared out and their shelves emptied during the series of Arctic blasts that had paralyzed the state’s highways for days.

“While the severe weather briefly interrupted the food supply chain, H-E-B trucks are back on the road and we have more than 1,500 H-E-B trailers going out today to restock our stores as quickly as possible,” Linda Tovar, who serves as senior public relations manager for the company’s border region, stated Friday. “Additionally, we’re working closely with several of our vendors to help replenish key products.”

Meanwhile, H-E-B is temporarily limiting purchases of products including water, milk, eggs, bread and meat.

“We have placed temporary limits on some products to help ensure access to the items our customers need,” Tovar stated.

Now, the company’s manufacturing plants are also back in operation.

“H-E-B has resumed manufacturing of priority items our customers need, including milk,” Tovar stated. “We are in strong supply of food and our customers will soon see that at the shelf.”

As H-E-B works to restock inventories, the company is asking customers to control their buying.

“Our partners are working around the clock to stock shelves and we ask customers to only buy what they need and to think of their neighbors and fellow Texans,” Tovar stated.

By next week, stores are expected to begin restocking their shelves and replenishing their warehouses, Jerry Hartzog, owner of Mike’s Supermarket in Rio Hondo, said.

“The weather’s clearing in Houston and San Antonio, where the warehouses are — that’s where your major food distribution centers are,” he said. “Now with the weather clearing, the employees can get to work.”

Now, a Valley distributor is shipping red meat to his store, said Hartzog, a former longtime city commissioner who runs the family-owned business that has been an icon in town for generations.

For days, the deep freeze kept truckers off the highways.

“Tomorrow, all the trucks will be rolling,” Hartzog said Friday.

Within days, stores will be restocking their shelves, he said.

“Everyday merchandise will be on the shelves by Thursday,” Hartzog said. “There’ll be some things that will be hard to acquire. But in 12 or 13 days the stores will be full.”


fdelvalle@valleystar.com