Originally created 01/25/00

Residents rush to area stores to stock up on cold-weather items



All that Y2K preparedness may have come in handy. Those D cell batteries purchased for millennium-ready flashlights were standing by for the unexpected snow storm Monday.

But the relatively warm winter has left some in need of clothing items such as gloves -- a necessity for constructing snowballs, snow angels and snowmen.

"They're buying some cold weather stuff -- hats, gloves, fire logs -- real cold-weather items," said Fran Browning, soft-lines manager at the Kmart in Martinez. "I guess everybody hadn't anticipated this cold weather, but it's really coming down right now. People aren't buying batteries, though -- I think they stocked up for the millennium."

Even before the end of the work day, people were making a mad dash to grocery stores to stock up on staples.

"We're pretty busy right now," said Beth Harrell, a manager at Winn Dixie on Columbia Road in Martinez. "People are buying bread, eggs, meat, lots of chips and fire logs. Traffic is very heavy," she said at 3:30 p.m. as the snow continued to steadily float down, covering the parking lot in white slush.

"It's coming down pretty hard, and it's coming down everywhere," said Ann Tanner, who was the loan cashier at Pollard's Corner, where cars were sliding off the road like amateur ice skaters and emergency units were scrambling to answer the calls. Inside the store, Ms. Tanner struggled to keep up with the demand by herself.

"People are coming in to buy propane tanks and kerosene," Ms. Tanner said. "They're also buying staples such as milk and bread and filling up with gas in their cars and vehicles too. We're very busy."

ReachMelissa Hall at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 113, or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.