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February 8, 2013

Coming blizzard starts a race for provisions

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Water and bread. Cold cuts and milk. Spaghetti and meatballs. It was an all-out assault at Market Basket yesterday as shoppers jammed the discount grocer in anticipation of what forecasters were calling an historic storm.

Even parking spaces and shopping carts were scare in the countdown to the impending blizzard, which was expected to drop more than two feet of snow on parts of Massachusetts.

“I didn’t really want to come, but I figured later it’s just going to get worse," said Mari Mendez, in a line for cold cuts at the back of the store.

She could be right. In addition to the snow, which began falling Friday, meteorologists expected winds gusting to 55 mph, white-out conditions and large snow drifts. The storm was expected to intensify Friday evening, then carry into Saturday.

By mid-day Friday, Gov. Deval Patrick had already declared a state of emergency and banned cars from the state's roads after 4 p.m., threatening violators with $500 fines and up to a year in jail. Emergency management officials and utilities were braced for the likelihood of large power outages.

The day before, the ominous predictions drove shoppers into  Market Basket, where shoppers herder around the registers. A corner of the store where the water is typically stocked was probably the most crowded area of all.

Kelly Kent had loaded a dozen gallons into her cart, along with a loaf of bread, as she and a friend stocked up.

“I feel like we’re really going to get blocked in for three days," said Kent.

Julia Ladd was loading up on her three children's favorite foods, in anticipation of being homebound.

“We’ll have taco night and spaghetti and meatballs,” she said. “I’m expecting to be inside for at least two days.”

But it wasn't all bad. Erin Cammann said she looked forward to being home and doing some baking and cooking for her family - three hungry teenagers included.

“We definitely don’t want to run out,” she said.

---

Bill Kirk writes for The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.

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