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Islanders watch and wait for storm, but appear unworried

JULIE LANE PHOTO An IGA worker restocked the milk supply late Friday afternoon.
JULIE LANE PHOTO | An IGA employee restocked the milk supply late Friday afternoon.

As  the winter storm made its way toward New York, Shelter Islanders prepared for what is now predicted to be between 5 to 9 inches of the white stuff, according to the National Weather Service.Not so terrible for most, although there are also NWS warnings about blustery winds with gales up to 50 mph and possible coastal flooding and erosion.

For some, the best way to ride out the foul weather is to curl up with a good book, watch a movie or drink away the hours until they’re dug out from the first winter blast of the season.

Stores may run out of shovels and salt, but Townsend Montant at Shelter Island Wines & Spirits on Bridge Street said he expects to have plenty of wine and stronger stuff available.

Mr.  Montant was expecting more than the usual demand for the weekend beginning today.

The first call on Thursday morning at Dandy Liquors in the Center was for a case of wine, according to Lisa, who declined to offer further identification.

“We have every intention of being open,” Lisa said, but didn’t say how long that would be.

The storm is expected to be a mix of rain, snow and sleet throughout much of Saturday into Sunday, with the heaviest snow expected around 2 p.m. Saturday, according to the NWS.

Accumulations during the day are anticipated to be 3 to 5 inches with a possible 2 to 4 more inches overnight Saturday into Sunday.

“But an inch or two is just as slippery,” Highway Superintendet Jay Card Jr. said. Sometimes less snow is worse because when there’s a lot, people tend to be more cautious, he added.

Many will welcome the fact that the storm falls on a weekend when they can stay home, but for Highway Department crews it’s a weekend of work.

While Mr. Card is still hoping to  purchase one or two new trucks this year, his crews have been making repairs on existing equipment, he said. Mostly that has involved working on turbo chargers that produce higher power engine outputs, lower emissions levels and improved efficiency.

Workers have been equipping trucks with plows and sanders and the  bins on the trucks are fully stocked with salt and sand. Another load of salt was expected today, Mr. Card said.

The town began preparations on Wednesday morning, according to Police Chief Jim Read, who overseas the emergency response team for major events.

“One of our primary concerns during these types of storms is power outages,” he said. “Residents should rest assured we will be working with PSEG prior to the storm arrival to limit power outages and after the storm to restore service as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Chief Read advised residents to stock up on food and other supplies if they’re not already prepared to deal with foul weather.

This is the first storm of the season after what has been an extended period of spring-like temperatures until just a little more than a week ago. The weather had been so mild, there were reports of cherry blossoms in the Rams.

Some might have been thinking about purchasing garden fertilizer rather than snow shovels and ice melt.

At Jack’s Marine, Kim Firestein reported a slow start, but said people began comin in for snow related materials — shovels and ice melt — on Thursday.

“They’re ahead of the game,” she said.

Ms. Firestein is the daughter of store owners Mike and Camille Anglin, who are in Arizona this time of year.

Ms. Firesteinis expecting a lot more business today from those preparing for what is shaping up to be a stormy weekend.

Snow related business has picked up since Wednesday even though the track of the storm has been in question, according to Dave Gurney at Shelter Island Ace Hardware.

“We’re well stocked on salt and expecting a delivery of more shovels today,” Mr. Gurney said.

The IGA is always busy on a Friday afternoon with weekenders stocking up, but manager Brian Feeney said business has been more steady in advance of the storm.

Nonetheless, shelves are well stocked, including with basics like milk and bread.

The IGA also has a stock of salt on hand and carries shovels, bundles of wood and those single logs that burn for several hours.

“We’re ready to serve the community,” he said.

At Schmidt’s the report is nobody’s talking about the weather and there has been no rush on food. But the store is well stocked and it has been business as usual as of Friday afternoon.

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