New Yorkers were scouring local pharmacies and grocery stores for last-minute hurricane needs this afternoon, hours before the first drops are expected to fall.
This morning, ahead of impending Hurricane Sandy churning toward the Northeast, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that subways would cease at 7 p.m. tonight, and he also cancelled school Monday and ordered mandatory evacuations near the water.
Bloomberg said yesterday that a slow start to the storm should not obscure its threat.
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"Don’t get lulled tomorrow when there’s not a lot of rain and not a lot of wind," he said. "This is a dangerous storm."
At a Duane Reade on Broadway in Lower Manhattan, shelves were already stripped of flashlights and most candles.
Hannah Sanderson, 29, a student who lives nearby, said she was “frantically” trying to find candles.
She was already stocked up on water, flashlights and food, she said.
Last year, she left the city during Hurricane Irene only to be stranded at her parent’s house in Maryland, which was worse off, she said.
This year, she was determined to stay in her Zone C apartment, but said that just today, “I’m getting scared a little.”
But she added, “I’m much less alarmist now. Last year, I was really scared. This time, I’m like, it’s just a lot of hubbub.”
Kristen Stack, 25, who works in finance and lives in Zone A, said she decided around noon today to finally stock up.
“I figure, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” she said, with a basket full of bananas, bread and water.
Bloomberg today ordered a mandatory of Zone A apartments.
“I haven’t decided” whether to leave, she said, although she said many friends had texted her with concern and options for where to spend the night.
Her boyfriend, Brooklyn resident Zechariah Metzler, 27, who works in film, added, “I’m not concerned,” but said stocking up was the smart option.
Parisa Garakani, 30, who works in sales, said this was her first big storm since moving from California, where she is used to earthquakes with no warning.
“It’s oddly kind of strange to prepare for something,” she said. “It’s this uncomfortable awkwardness to prepare for the unknown.”