Came across this article tonight and thought it was worth sharing. The full story can be read here. Kroger storm watchers prepare 24/7 In a non-descript Blue Ash office building, Kroger associates work around the clock to track bad weather forming from Anchorage to Atlanta... They're looking for mudslides in Washington State, forest fires in California, tornados in Kansas, hurricanes in Texas, ice storms in the Southeast. Today, it's a snowstorm right here at home. At the earliest signs of any natural disaster, Kroger associates begin a detailed process of preparing stores, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, truck fleets and store employees to make Kroger's response to a storm as unnoticeable to customers as possible. Sophisticated weather tracking is crucial for the nation's largest grocer. Wind, storms and wild weather can force stores to lose electricity and products to spoil. It can shut down manufacturing or distribution facilities and run trucks full of goods off the road. It can compromise people's safety. And it can cost millions of dollars in losses. "The bottom line is they're neighborhood grocers, and the people that surround them are counting on them to have a good, safe, adequate food supply," said Tom Jackson, president and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association. Kroger's planning begins in its Systems Control Centers, the largest of which is in Blue Ash. Television screens delivering the latest weather news from around the country are paired with a huge map of the United States. Plotted on the map are each of Kroger's 2,461 stores, its 40 food processing plants and 34 distribution centers. And overlaying the map are images from the latest Doppler radar. Wednesday, it showed a storm cloud that could cover the region with 4-6 inches of snow Thursday. Planning typically begins several days before a storm, Bruni said, as Kroger merchandisers notify suppliers of the likelihood of increased orders for milk, bread, meat, eggs, rock salt, cereal and shovels. Locally, Kroger's division checks the status of its dry foods distribution facility in Woodlawn to be sure it's ready to serve any of the region's 110 stores, where customers will stock up before a storm. Backup resources could come from nearby centers in Louisville, Columbus or Roanoke, Va. Bigger orders for milk and bread are then made to Kroger's dairy and bakery near Indianapolis and for meat, frozen foods and perishable items from Shelbyville, Ind. At the store level, Kroger managers begin reworking schedules to staff up for the day before the storm, when customers typically flock to the grocery, said Cal Oeters, manager of the Newport Kroger. Dozens of staffers scheduled to work Thursday came in a day early to move rock salt, ice scrapers and windshield wiper fluid to the front of the store. They then ran all 11 checkout lanes, stocked shelves and worked the meat department throughout the day. Many of those workers will be off on Thursday when crowds will be light, Oeters said.