Ines Appel wasn’t overly concerned about the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irene until she watched the news this morning and phone calls from family members started pouring in. With the storm set to hit the region sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning, Appel decided to bring her three young kids to the White Plains ShopRite to pick up cases of water, candles, matches and other last-minute supplies in case the storm knocks out her power or makes it difficult to leave her White Plains home for some time.
“I’m not someone who worries too much about things,” said Appel. “I’m hoping it’s only a couple of days.”
She was far from alone at ShopRite early Saturday afternoon, as the store was packed with locals stocking up on essentials like water, snacks, canned food and matches.
“Everyone’s saying ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry,’ but I’m very worried,” Harrison resident Robin Valentine said as she stood in line. “We have a lot of trees around our house, so that’s our main concern.”
Valentine said she came to the supermarket to pick up some snacks for her kids and other necessities and was surprised to see just how long the lines were.
“I knew they’d be bad but I didn’t think they were going to be this long,” Valentine said.
With New York expecting strong winds and heavy flooding, Gov. Cuomo has declared a State of Emergency while the MTA shut down all service at noon today. White Plains Mayor Tom Roach has also declared a State of Emergency, while White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong urged residents to begin preparing for the storm by assembling a family emergency kit with bottled water, a flashlight and extra batteries, dry clothes, a first aid kit, an AM/FM radio and important papers.
“During high winds and heavy rain, folks are best to stay inside,” Chong said in an e-mail. “No one should be unnecessarily traveling outside on foot or in a car. It is important to leave the roads and streets clear of traffic so emergency vehicles can respond quickly and not be impeded.”
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will be holding a press conference to address the county’s efforts to prepare for the storm at 6 p.m.