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White Plains Preps for Hurricane Irene Touchdown

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - The prospect of Hurricane Irene whirling through White Plains has flooded local stores with residents stocking up on storm supplies. Even though many ShopRite customers, including Debra Depaso, said they weren't nervous about a hurricane touchdown, several shoppers loaded their carts up with precautionary items.

"I'm getting water, milk, juice, dog food for my coworker -- in case I can't get out. I have two elderly parents at home," Depaso said while strolling through the aisles of the City Center Target. "I think it's something to be aware of, definitely, but not so much alarmed about."

Regardless of the category three hurricane's direction, Depaso predicts her Yorktown home will catch a few feet of rain this weekend.

"The minute we get water, there's no sleep because we have to work on [getting it out] constantly," said Depaso, 55, who said she is most worried for younger folks who may not be as cautious. "I have a kid that plans to surf on Saturday. That concerns me."

A few aisles over, John Farmer, 45, was picking up juice, bread and bottled water in case an electricity outage cuts his family's access to the water faucet built into their refrigerator.

"I'm not really worried about it. We've been through big storms before," said Farmer, an Elmsford resident.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook that includes lower Westchester Thursday and suggested residents begin reviewing hurricane plans.

Scattered showers Thursday may cause flash flooding, and the National Weather Service notes that heavy rains, flooding and strong winds are likely to begin as early as Saturday night.

Friday will be mostly sunny with a high near 84 degrees, but showers will hit Saturday morning and may bring winds traveling as fast as eight miles per hour. White Plains can expect about a quarter to an inch of rain Saturday night. Conditions will likely intensify as tropical storms threaten to hit Sunday and Sunday night. The sun will be out again by Monday as temperatures reach 81 degrees.

Although the National Weather Service says the storm won't hit until Sunday, shoppers have already begun draining the City Center Target of bottled water, according to sales floor representative Michael Stevens.

"We ordered a new shipment of bottled water this morning. The batteries section is totally wiped out and the flashlight section and lantern section are getting pretty low," said Stevens. "Every guest that has approached me this morning about where something is has asked, 'Where are the batteries?' 'Where are the lanterns?'"

Gassing up the car also landed high on White Plains' residents┬ĺ to-do lists.

"I'm getting gas and then I'm going to the grocery store," said Marguerite Sims, 51, of White Plains, while paying at the Citgo on Fisher Avenue. "I'm not nervous. I think it's going to be a blow-by."

Do you think Hurricane Irene will reach White Plains? How concerned are you? Are you taking any precautions? Email thoughts to strangle@thedailywhiteplains.com and we'll include your responses in future coverage.

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