SAYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)A blizzard warning will soon be in effect for Suffolk County, and people are getting ready for the worst.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, that means long lines at the grocery stores.

The lines snaked through Suffolk County supermarkets as shoppers cleared shelves of bread and other perishables. There was a 20-minute wait to pay for just a gallon of milk.

“A panic – people are in a panic,” one shopper said.

“They’re packed in there. The lines are unbelievable,” another said. “People are buying everything because of the snow.”

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With Suffolk County bracing for the highest snow totals, shoppers are not waiting for the first flakes to fall. They are stocking up and getting ready to hunker down with storm essentials – the definition of which is open to interpretation.

“Bread and milk, vegetables, and sausage to make spaghetti,” one shopper said.

“Cookies, chips, oatmeal, essentials – definitely,” another said.

At Brinkmann Hardware stores too, the shovels and snowblowers are lined up – as are anxious shoppers.

“Everyone’s come for ice melt, snow shovels, heat cables and whatever they can get their hands on,” said Brinkmann’s manager J.C. Pruser.

“What are they calling it – a bomb blizzard or something like that? So yeah, it’s scary,” said Deb Lentini of Holbrook. “I’m getting some safe stuff for the pets, and my washing machine froze, so I need new pipes.”

“Salt and shovels — I love the snow, so I’m ready for it,” another customer said.

“I start my snowblower yesterday, so it works,” another said.

The first storm of 2018 promises to deliver strong gusts of wind too.

“You always worry when there’s a lot of wind blowing that trees will come down,” said Sally Connelly of Sayville. “I have a big tree, so I worry.”

Power is also a concern for PSEG Long Island, which is monitoring the storm closely and adding staff.

And even with all the preparation, officials in Suffolk County say the smallest change in the track of the storm could mean a big difference in snow totals. That is why officials and residents say they hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Officials in Suffolk County are urging residents to get cars off the roads and into driveways so they can properly plow the streets.

A blizzard warning will take effect for Suffolk County at 1 a.m. Thursday. Monmouth and Ocean counties in New Jersey are also affected.

Forecasters say there may be six to nine inches of snow with as much as a foot possible in some spots and winds gusting as high as 45 mph to 50 mph.

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