As Long Island braced for the landfall of Irene sometime over the weekend, Patchogue residents spent their Thursday night preparing and buying supplies in case of the worst.
Residents filled shopping carts and stood in line at the Pathmark on 112 after raiding the store of nearly all of the bread, milk and bottled water they had.
“We had about 12 pallets of water that went during the day,” an employee at Pathmark who declined to give his name said. “All kinds of stuff is flying out the door basically. All the water is gone. “
That same employee had come to work at Pathmark after finishing a shift at Lowe's in Medford.
“People were lining up at the door in the morning at 6 a.m. waiting for a truck of generators that were supposed to come in,” he said. “People were coming all over looking for C and D batteries, they were at Target, Walmart, no one had them.”
Resident Kevin Mcalvin reiterated those sentiments, saying he had been to five different stores looking for supplies.
“There’s no D cell batteries, no flashlights, no water – even Costco doesn’t have water and they usually have astronomical amounts,” he said.
The assistant store manager at Lowe's, Jim Trowbridge, said his store had seen an uptick in business during a usually slow time.
“We’re selling LED nightlights that plug into an outlet and if they lose power then they run on a backup battery,” he said. “Everyone is looking for lanterns, big debris bags and we’re starting to move plywood which happens as you get closer to the storm.”
Although crowds have been waiting around all day, Trowbridge said that no one was panicking.
“Everyone has been very civil and amicable,” he said. “The demand has obviously been astronomical and we’re doing our due diligence to try to supply it.”
As the storm moves closer to Long Island residents await the supplies they need.
“Truckloads of things that people need – batteries, flashlights, they’re heading down to us,” Trowbridge said. “Ideally they’d be here already and that’s why we have a crowd, but everyone is being pretty good about it.”
It’s been a very interesting day for sure,” he said.