Lessons from a hurricane


Though the area received less than a foot of snow last Friday night and Saturday morning — far short of the historic totals to the northeast — locals who had survived Superstorm Sandy weren’t taking any chances this time around.

As blizzard predictions flooded the airwaves on Friday morning, gas lines throughout the two communities were long and anxious, with people filling their tanks in advance of the storm. There were lines at supermarkets and hardware stores as well — like Ace Hardware, on Long Beach Road in Island Park.

Debra Berardino Arden, of Oceanside, was among those buying emergency supplies there. Besides the usual batteries and ice melt, Arden picked up an electric generator, having been assured by store staffers that it would run her basement sump pump.

Like many others, Arden said that she was more worried about flooding — and the potential re-destruction of her basement, which she had just finished renovating after the devastation of Sandy — than about the snow.

Store manager John Alberto said that business was booming on Friday morning, with shovels and other winter weather supplies disappearing from the store. He added that chain saws, generators and lanterns were also in demand.

At the Michael’s craft store on Long Beach Road, the lines were as long as at nearby gas stations. One young mother, who did not give her name, said that she had three children and wanted to stock up on things for them to do if the family was snowed in for a few days.

Both the Oceanside and Island Park fire departments were gearing up for later in the day. Both planned an all-hands alert at 8 p.m., and firefighters and EMT’s were prepared to be out all night to handle whatever emergencies arose.

As it turned out, the snowfall was milder than feared, there was little flooding and between the two departments, officials said there were no serious emergency calls and no reports of any storm-related injuries.

Arden, however, had made the salient point on Friday morning. “We didn’t believe Sandy,” she said, “and look what happened.”