Shoppers leery of Hurricane Bertha stocked up on everything from bottled water to plywood Tuesday even as forecasters predicted the storm could turn northward away from Florida.

"If it hits, it hits," said Maria Lancaster, who went shopping with her 11-month-old son, Christopher, for "just the basics: water, some milk, diapers and baby food.""This Publix ain't never been like this, this early in the morning," Charles Williams said outside the supermarket as he loaded 12 gallons of water into his trunk. He said he stocked up "just to kind of halfway be prepared."

"We're certainly threatened at this time, and we're just trying to get people to think preparedness," said Mike Rucker, the state meteorologist.

With a chance that storm-force wind of at least 39 mph could extend 230 miles from the center as Bertha heads toward the Bahamas, a storm watch could go up for Florida's Atlantic Coast by Tuesday night.

"Our advice is for residents all along the eastern seaboard to keep monitoring the storm," said Brian Maher, a specialist at the National Hurricane Center.