Atlantic County residents have already begun stocking up on storm supplies as Hurricane Sandy gets closer to South Jersey.
At Home Depot in Absecon, generators sold out Friday morning. More than 100 people formed a line throughout the store, hoping there would be other shipments of generators, which could cost from $500 to $800. By about 4 p.m., those at the front of the line had been waiting for six hours with no word on when the next shipment might arrive.
Terry Slattery, of Galloway Township, sat on an industrial cart in the middle of the line. She lost power after the June 30 derecho storm and she did not want to relive that experience.
“I think it’s stupid that we didn’t get it before this storm hit,” she said, laughing. “After the derecho, we were out of power and we should have bought it then.”
She tried to get a generator at the Egg Harbor Township Home Depot but she said they sold out right as she walked into the store. She had been waiting for about an hour and a half at the Absecon store.
Slattery said she still has a list of preparations.
“This was step one,” she said. “Looks like we have from now until Tuesday. I want to tie down. I want to get stuff out of the yard. We have two big boats staying in the water (in Atlantic City). We’re putting extra lines on the boats.”
John W. Pucci Sr., of Mays Landing, was loading plywood into his truck for his Brigantine summer home.
“I’m cleaning off the deck,” he said. “I’ve got some plywood on standby. I have a sliding door on the second floor deck. I want to be able to put that plywood on (Saturday) or Sunday morning early. I think we’re going to get whacked.”
For Pucci, the storm is the calm before the storm. He owns a tree-removal and excavation service, and he said he plans to be going non-stop after the storm clears. He said he is preparing with that in mind.
“My wife went shopping today, bought $500 worth of stuff,” he said. “Non-perishables like tuna, and canned goods, and soups, just to be prepared.”
At the ShopRite in Somers Point, Joe and Jodi O’Connell, of Egg Harbor Township, said they don’t panic when forecasts of major storms come in, but they wanted to buy food before the crowds begin arriving.
Jodi said she wasn’t sure what would happen or how bad the storm would be, but the forecasts were scary enough that people would take warnings seriously.
“I really think it’s going to be one of those things where the shelves are empty tomorrow,” she said.
Joe O’Connell said that he typically laughs at the storm preparation frenzy, even though he has worked with the Red Cross in New York for years and has covered disasters ranging from blizzards to terrorist attacks.
“I think it’s going to be the worst thing we’ve seen in a long time,” he said. “When I woke up this morning and turned on The Weather Channel, I turned to her and said, ‘We’re going food shopping.’”
At the ShopRite in Absecon, Damaris Santiago and Lawan Fenwick, both of Pleasantville, pushed a full cart of food out to their car.
“I’m supposed to have my tonsils out on Monday, so I’m getting food for that,” Santiago said. “But I also got extra in case the power goes out.”
She said she got mostly non-perishables. She has a filter on her faucet at home, but she said she was stocking up on bottled water for the storm. Fenwick picked up things he wouldn’t need to cook, but could store in a cooler, like lunch meat.
“We still have to get batteries,” Santiago said. “We have a lot of candles, though.”
Staff writer Sarah Watson contributed to this report.
Contact David Simpson: