Though Hurricane Sandy largely missed South Carolina, Horry County's emergency management director says the Grand Strand can still make Sandy into a learning experience. Randy Webster said he'll be watching to see how FEMA and emergency management agencies in those states impacted by the storm react to the disaster.
"Let's see how the communities up there respond and in terms of how do they work well together, how are they working to get all their needs taken care of," said Webster.
Webster says it's highly unusual for a storm this big to hit that part of the country so late in the year. That should be a lesson for us in South Carolina, he says, to stay well prepared for hurricanes all the way to the end of November.
Webster has another bit of advice for locals who may want to help victims of Hurricane Sandy: don't just grab a chainsaw and a tarp and head north. You may end up doing more harm than good.
"You may find yourself with no place to stay, no food to eat, no shelter, no gasoline and now you've become part of the problem."
If you want to help an individual family, that's understandable, Webster says. Otherwise, it's best to stay home or join a larger organized group, like the Red Cross.
Webster says disaster response is the same in northern states as it is South Carolina. It's all about saving lives and protecting property, he says.
Most of the deli's customers have family living in the path of the storm and many of them are worried about their sons and daughters.
"I'm concerned, because he has a tremendous amount of trees around his house," said Carolyn Davey, about her son who lives in New Jersey.
Others were less concerned.
"I think they're intelligent and they'll do the right thing," said Guy Hendershot, of his children who live in suburban Washington, DC. "I think they're just staying home."
All those at Toffino's were pleading with family who live in the path of the hurricane: please, take this storm seriously.
"I spoke to my mom up in South Jersey this morning and I just basically told her just don't go anywhere, just stay home," said the deli's owner Phil Pecora.