Grocery stores from New Jersey to Massachusetts emptied out ahead of a major blizzard expected to cover the Northeast region in snow Monday night. Stores scrambled to keep pantry basics in stock as people lined up for bread, water, canned food and other staples. In New York City and Boston, some lined up outside grocery stores for hours Sunday night to purchase enough supplies to wait out the storm. Inside wasn't much better, with cashier lines snaking across aisles as people waited to pay for goods.

The first East Coast blizzard of the year was expected to blanket areas from New Jersey to Maine with one to three feet of snow through Tuesday. Snowfalls of about 18 to 24 inches were expected in New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio warned residents to prepare for "one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city" Sunday night. In Boston, more than 24 hours of near-blizzard to blizzard conditions were expected starting early Tuesday morning. 

Some grocery stores took to social media to assure customers that they would remain open as people prepared for the storm. Chains such as Walmart, Target, Shaws, Whole Foods, Key Foods and Trader Joe's remained open Monday as customers hunted for pantry items. 



Many took to social media Monday to complain about the long lines and empty grocery shelves. 


Residents of areas expected to be hard hit should purchase or save a three-day supply of water, with one gallon per person per day, as well as a three-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food, according to the American Red Cross. Smart choices include canned food that doesn't need to be cooked, as well as bread, crackers and dried fruits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Peanut butter, trail mix, cereal, power bars, canned fish, canned vegetables and canned soups are also standard blizzard foods.