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White Plains Gas Stations Fuel Hurricane Jitters

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Locals rushing to prepare for Hurricane Irene's arrival have created a commotion at White Plains gas stations. Some customers were following preparation to-do-lists, others happened to be replenishing low tanks, and some, including, Joel Shugar, 62, were fueling up in case of emergencies.

"I am a doctor so I have to be able to get around readily," Shugar, a Purchase resident said while pumping gas at the Mobile gas station on Westchester Avenue. "I put the lawn furniture inside, went to Home Depot and got heavy duty plastic in case the windows go in."

Besides picking up bottled water, a flashlight, and batteries, Shugar said he was considering a suggestion from his sister who has endured several hurricanes in Florida.

"She told me to make sure I put plumber's caulk around the bathtub so [the water] doesn't leak out," said Shugar. "But I don't think water supply will be an issue. It'll probably be an electric issue."

A few pumps over, Vera Plachi, 40, said she was buying gas because it was on standard precautionary check lists.

"I don't know why I'm getting [gas]. Because they said to on the news. I guess in case we need to run. This is the first time I've been nervous about [severe weather]," said Plachi, a West Harrison resident, who was also taping her windows and stocking up on food, water, and candles.

Managers at the BP and Mobile stations on Westchester Avenue said they've seen the amount of customers they serve double since Hurricane Irene warnings have intensified. Besides gas, milk, juice, bread and batteries, oil-changes are popular requests. The demand for water wiped out Mobil's supply Friday, according to manager Omaira Acebedo.

Following showers Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service has issued a hurricane warning that includes Westchester County. White Plains can expect a tropical storm with winds traveling up to 55 miles per hour overnight. The hurricane watch continues into Sunday, when the storm is expected to intensify and carry gusts traveling at up to 80 miles per hour.

White Plains can expect at least 8 inches of rain this weekend. However, the sun will be out by Monday, when temperatures may reach 77 degrees.

As of Saturday afternoon Hurricane Irene was classified a category one storm and predictions that the storm would remain a hurricane flooded local stores with last minute shoppers, according to Will Jones, 30.

"It's more crowded than normal here," Jones, a White Plains personal trainer, said as he bought gas at Mobile. "And it was insane at the grocery store. It's crazy. I've never seen anything like it in my life."

The Daily White Plains would like to remind readers to call 9-1-1 if an emergency arises this weekend. To prevent clogging public safety lines, residents may dial the United Way's 2-1-1 helpline for assistance. White Plains public safety officers can be reached at (914) 422-6111.

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