Panic Buying Grips The East Coast: Mad Rush For Supplies Ahead Of Hurricane Sandy
Mac Slavo:Â While many people are still trying to make up their minds about theÂ potential severity of the stormÂ threatening the U.S. northeast, itâ€™s not stopping millions ofÂ concernedÂ residents from racing to to grocery stores, gas stations and hardware depots in droves.
If youâ€™ve ever wanted to know what it looks like when theÂ 99% of Americans who have failed to prepare for a disasterÂ wake up and realize they are facing a major crisis take a look at whatâ€™sÂ happening on the east coastÂ ahead of Hurricane Sandy.
Good luck buying lanterns, generators, propane, or â€“ if you are really unprepared â€“ rain boots and batteries in areas in the path of Hurricane Sandy as it bears down on the U.S. East Coast.
The approach of the gigantic storm, which is expected to come ashore on Monday night set off a weekend scramble for supplies from Virginia to New England, causing long lines at gas stations, bare shelves at hardware and home-supply shops, and a run on bread, bottled water and canned foods.
â€œItâ€™s been crazy. Weâ€™re the only one open who still has gas,â€ said Karen Tripodi, a customer service representative at Cumberland Farms, a gas station and market in Newington, Connecticut.
â€œTheyâ€™re coming in for propane, ice, water, milk and cigarettes.â€
InÂ Hartford ConnecticutÂ on Saturday, from the shoreline to well inland, residents and business owners scrambled to get ready for Sandy.
Preparations for the storm took place all over the state, as banks, pharmacies, home improvement centers, electronics stores, pet shops and supermarkets opened Saturday to lines of customers stocking up.
Early birds got D batteries, flashlights, propane refills, bottled water and other sought-after storm supplies. Those arriving later had to deal with bigger crowds, dwindling supplies and, in some cases, empty shelves.
MeteorologistsÂ are warning residents across over 600 miles of coastline from Wilmington, Delaware to Bangor, Maine that they need to brace for widespread power outages, sustained high winds, Appalachian snows, deadly storm surges for low lying, massive beach erosion, and flooding in what is beingÂ referred to by the NOAA as an â€œhistoric storm.â€
Millions of Americans within the path of the storm, who waited too long to take it seriously, are now scrambling to acquire the most basic necessities ahead of Sandyâ€™s expected landfall sometime early Tuesday morning:
Folks across Central Virginia, the Northern Neck and much of the East Coast started stocking up at theÂ groceryÂ store as forecasters warned of the looming â€œFrankenstorm.â€
â€œIt is a little surprising.Â I didnâ€™t think it would come that close to the coast,â€ Connie Davidson told CBS 6 Newsâ€™ Sandra Jones.
Davidson was getting a jump on Hurricane Sandy and stocking up on basics, including water and batteries.
Sheâ€™s was just one of numerous customers Friday at Pleasants Hardware.
â€œI got an oil lamp, got a portable castle iron. I got a portable heater,â€ Carl Shiles said. â€œItâ€™s going to be getting cool next week â€” and if we lose power, I have a 92-year-old mother-in-law.â€
â€œDuring the storm,Â we figure weâ€™ll have gas. So, weâ€™re going to get a lot of things that we can to just pop in the oven and be done with it,â€ he said.
Foodtown â€“ Middletown, New Jersey â€“ Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 (viaÂ Twitter)
Preparations ranged from mandatory evacuations ordered by Gov. Christie for portions of the Jersey Shore toÂ residents preparing for long power outages by cleaning shelves of water, batteries and bread. New Jerseyâ€™s utility companies also were preparing for a massive number of power outages.
People turned to social media to report bare shelves in grocery stores and the early effects of the storm in their communities, including strong winds and even flooding in some Shore towns.
Items such as flashlights, D batteries and bottled water have already run low in many locations, as have bread and nonperishable food items. Other items that may run low include tarps and pumps.
Grocery store lines in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and undoubtedly throughout the city were stretching through the aisles this evening. According toÂ ABC News, one Trader Joeâ€™s line just to enter the store wrapped around the block.
Also, FreshDirect has cancelled deliveries tonight, causing more people to head to actual grocery stores than usual.
Throughout the area, grocery stores and gas stations were crowded Sunday as residents stocked up on necessities.
The lines at the pumps at Sunoco on Valley Forge Road at Whites Road were three or four cars deep late Sunday morning, and the cars trying to get in and out were causing jams in the parking lot and on Valley Forge.
Denise Bohne-Schmidt, a nine-year employee of the Sunoco, said the gas station ran out of regular gasoline Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When it runs out, a truck comes to the station to replenish the supply, but that sometimes takes hours.
She said sheâ€™s never seen the gas station so busy, not even before a snowstorm.
â€œPeople are complaining, screaming, yelling, theyâ€™re yelling at me and there have been fights between customers â€” itâ€™s been a mess.â€
At Weis Market on Valley Forge Road in Lansdale, manager Mike Ryan said that sales are up 29 percent since Friday, with most people buying cases of bottled water and bread.Â He had three extra deliveries, but the bread supply was almost depleted and bottled water was dwindling.
â€œPeople who have well water are nervous, because if the power goes out, they wonâ€™t have water,â€ he said.
Arlene Widman of Lansdale had several cases of bottled water in her cart for herself and her two adult daughters.
â€œWe donâ€™t know how had itâ€™s going to be. Thatâ€™s the issue,â€ she said. â€œFrom what theyâ€™re saying itâ€™s going to be a doozy.â€
For those on the east coast, we wish you the best as the brunt of the storm passes over the next 72 hours. Many of our readers have likelyÂ prepared for the worstÂ and have critical supplies like food, potable water, gas, batteries, off-grid cooking supplies and generators on hand.
For those still lacking supplies, weâ€™d strongly recommend stocking up on as manyÂ snow hurricaneÂ preparedness itemsÂ as you canÂ within the next 12 hours if supplies are still available in your area.
With the potential for widespread power outages and flooding, there is a strong possibility that many areas may experience supply problems in coming days and weeks, especially if this storm damages critical utility infrastructure.
This article is brought to you courtesy ofÂ Mac Slavo.