With Nemo barreling toward the East End -- and a blizzard warning in effect across all of Long Island as of 6 a.m. Friday -- residents are rushing to stores to stock up.
Jim Gallagher, manager of King Kullen on Route 58 in Riverhead, said business has definitely been busier than normal. "They're coming in for milk, bread, fire logs, rock salt, snow shovels -- we have it all," he said.
Others said the customers are getting ready to batten down the hatches and enjoy the respite.
Becky Edwards, salesperson at Michael's Wines and Liquors on East Main Street in Riverhead, said business is booming. "Are you kidding me?" Edwards asked late Thursday afternoon. "We have had 478 customers today as of a quarter to five and it's getting busier. My feet are embedded in the same spot they've been in all day."
Edwards said while the store is always busy, January and February are traditionally a bit slower than normal. "But today it's ridiculous," she said. "It's crazy. Everyone is buying everything that they can."
Meanwhile, others are stocking up on snow equipment. At Hart's True Value Hardware on Main Road in Southold, salesperson Matt Jerome said customers have been pouring in.
"Ice melt has been going like crazy," he said. Lanterns, he said, are sold out, with more expected. Customers are also snapping up shovels, batteries and other essentials. "It's pretty crazy," he said.
And at IGA on Main Road in Southold, manager Kevin Grattan said the packed store is "normal" behavior for the day before a storm. "They're buying anything that's not tied down," he said. "It's unbelievable. It never changes -- but it's good for business."
Along with staples such as milk and bread, Grattan said customers are purchasing beer and chips.
"They're also buying salt and snow shovels, which is good, because I was stuck with them from last year, when there was no snow."