Long Islanders packed grocery stores, hardware stores and gas stations Saturday as they scrambled to stock up for the hurricane expected to wallop eastern and central Long Island.

Although many Long Islanders are hardened veterans of past storms like Hurricane Gloria and Superstorm Sandy, some residents were cautiously optimistic while they prepared for whatever Hurricane Henri might bring.

Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore told Newsday on Saturday that the village would be recommending that people in Storm Surge Zone 1, which includes Dune Road, voluntarily evacuate, as the village was expecting "significant wind gusts and rain."

At Harbor Freight Tools in Huntington Station on Saturday morning, signs dotted the front doors saying "No Generators" while shoppers collected such items as gas cans and extension cords.

"It’s coming this way," said Tom Giordano, 68, of Huntington Station. "I went into the hardware store and they were sold out of generators and had one gas can left."

He has one generator gassed up, he said, hoping he doesn’t lose power, as he did for eight days after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Giordano, who has lived on Long Island his entire life, said he had braved multiple storms, including Sandy and Hurricane Gloria in 1985 when his truck was blown across the road, but he didn’t expect Henri to be as bad.

"It’s not going to be Sandy. That was different, it was a superstorm," he said. "We lose power around here from all the trees and the power lines. It’s not going to be as bad as Gloria."

Long Islanders, faced with the potential extended loss of electricity after PSEG warned outages could last for up to two weeks, were preparing to supply their own power.

Home Depot and Lowe’s stores in Riverhead had sold out of generators by Friday night and there was no indication of when more would be available.

Port Washington resident Dick Silverman, who experienced an outage last month, said he was already making plans to find a hotel, perhaps even off Long Island, to avoid the potential long wait for a restoration. "Here we go again," he said in an email

Long stretches of cars wound up Route 25A toward Setauket and Port Jefferson with drivers spilling onto the road from gas stations.

Drivers heeded the advice of officials to fill up their cars and gas cans to power generators, waiting more than 30 minutes for fuel and leaving some gas station pumps empty.

The Gulf Automotive Center in Setauket ran out of gas shortly after noon Saturday after an early rush of drivers filled up their cars and gas cans.

Station manager Matthew Alfonso said cars began pulling in at 9 a.m., and by 12:30 p.m. the tanks were all sacked with yellow bags with all fuel gone except diesel. He said shipments were delayed and he usually can get gas refilled the same day.

"This morning there was a car at every pump. Everyone has generators, so they were filling five or six gas cans plus their car," Alfonso said. "We’re trying to get our next gas shipment, but we’ll probably be out of gas until tomorrow."

Drivers waited at neighboring gas stations where lines of cars blocked traffic.

"I hope the storm doesn’t come but we have a generator and we’ll be ready if the power goes out," said Peter Oreszak of Setauket.

On the South Fork, there were few obvious signs of worry ahead of the storm, even though the area was forecast to take the brunt of the hurricane.

At the Stop and Shop in Hampton Bays, water on the shelves was scarce, but pallets of water were available for customers. Most shoppers left with water, bread and either toilet paper or paper towels in their shopping carts.

As he was loading groceries into his car, Halley Low, 62, pastor of the Riverhead United Methodist Church, said he was "not terribly worried" about the storm. However, he was getting groceries to last him for a few days, such as juice and fruit, and gasoline in advance just in case.

When asked if he thought he would be OK for the coming storm, Low — whose home is by the Peconic River in Riverhead — said, "I hope so. The house we live in was built in 1870 and is right by the river. So, either we’ll be fine, or history will be washed away."

Noting his church was also an old structure, Low said the members of the church would stay home and service would be conducted via Zoom, which was safer especially for seniors.

Carolyn Echols, 59, of Huntington Station, said she hoped Henri would blow over. She stocked up on essentials like bread, meats and cheese and hot dogs and burgers she could cook on a grill.

"I’ve never got so many alerts on my phone from a storm, so I knew we had to go. We’re getting groceries and we’re going to hunker down," Echols said. "This feels like the real deal because of all the warnings. I hope it blows out to sea, but I took a look in the backyard to see what trees might blow over."

With Mark Harrington

Latest Videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME