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Shades of Sandy during blizzard panic on Staten Island as gas stations are pumped dry

Posted: 6:51 PM, Feb 08, 2013
Updated: 2013-02-08 18:51:19-05

Some parts of New York that are bracing for the brunt of the overnight snow storm Friday have other unpleasant natural disaster memories in their not-too-distant past.

Staten Island, for one, was hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy, and sections of the New York City borough suffered badly during the last major blizzard.   Now that more snow is falling in Staten Island, scenes on its streets are eerily similar to the worst of what it suffered in both of its recent major natural disasters.

Along main roadways, such as Bay Street and Hylan Boulevard, cars are lined up for 15 minute waits to get gas, that is, if gas is available.  Residents who are still recovering from Sandy know all too well that they can’t take any chances.

“My block didn’t lose power, but my house did,” Rod Feldman told PIX11 News after filling up two gas canisters for the generator he’d just bought.  “You want to be prepared.  You never know what’s going happen next.”

At the gas station where Feldman had filled up, there was a line of cars  that were waiting  up to 20 minutes on average in order to get gas.  Many other gas stations on Staten Island were closed.  Gary DeCarlo of South Beach said that he was stunned to see a similar sight to those during Sandy.  “No, not this soon anyway,” he said.  “Unbelievable!

In the borough where nearly two dozen people died from Sandy, and where thousands of people’s homes are still uninhabitable, Friday’s storm might have been bearable if they had not already been through recent devastation.

“We’re used to snow, but we’re not used to water coming out of the ocean and making this huge mess that we’re in,” said Amin al Haddad, whose Midland Beach home has no interior walls, no kitchen and very little furniture left.  For now, he, his wife and children are being sheltered in a hotel.

Another storm is also very much on the minds of Staten Islanders.  The Christmas Week Blizzard of 2010 left many parts of the island socked in by snow for days.

“Bloomberg messed up,” resident John Hawkins said.  “He told the plows to hold off, like the blizzard was going to be nothing, and then there was snow everywhere, and we was messed up for a couple of days.”

He and other city residents told PIX11 News that they think the mayor and his administration will perform better in this blizzard than the last, but they also say they still can’t be certain.

“I feel like I need to get everything I need done, done,” Hawkins said.  “Just in case Bloomberg mess[es] up again.”

Mayor Bloomberg had advised New Yorkers to get all of their shopping and errands done as early as possible Friday, just as Hawkins had said he wanted to do.

A major change from the last major snow emergency is the ability to track snow plows.  The city updates its snow plow locations every half hour.  Anybody can enter an address onto the city’s Plow NYC website at http://pix11.com/plow , and see when the last snow plow had passed their location.