In the Thick of the Storm….

blizzard Jonas picture 2016
And so it begins…

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published at 8:20 a.m. on Jan. 23, 2016. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Update 12 p.m.

Here are the unofficial snowfall observations for the weekend’s blizzard from the National Weather Service: A trained spotter reported 26 inches on the ground in Islip as of 7 a.m. Sunday, a member of the public reported 22 inches on the ground in Yaphank at 7 a.m. Sunday, a member of the public in Eastport reported 19.5 inches on the ground as of 5:45 a.m. Sunday and a trained spotter in Mattituck reported 15.5 inches on the ground at 8 a.m. Sunday.

Southampton’s State of Emergency was lifted at 11:30 a.m. Long Island Rail Road service is suspended until tomorrow as crews work to clear the tracks. LIRR is reminding the public that third rails should be assumed to be energized at all times.

Update 8 a.m.

We haven’t gotten any new snowfall figures from NWS since our 4 a.m. update. The governor’s travel ban was lifted one hour ago. We’ve gotten reports that main roads on the North Fork and in Riverhead are clear and passable. But farm snow drifts are a real problem out there, and motorists should be aware that they may need to reduce speed as road conditions change. It’s best to err on the side of slow driving, even if roads appear to be fine.

We’re looking at some lingering power outages in Montauk, with about 75 people there without power. There are also scattered small-scale outages in Springs, Northwest Woods, Bridgehampton, Southampton and Westhampton Beach. PSEG-Long Island reports that 137 customers are currently without power across all of Long Island. There are no outages on the North Fork.

Update 4 a.m. Jan. 24

As of the last measurement at 12:07 a.m., Central Park was holding out an inch on the record, with 26.8 inches of snow on the ground. The National Weather Service had a report from the public of 14.5 inches in Southampton at 11:20 p.m., of 15 inches in Shoreham from a trained spotter at 8:18 p.m., of 16 inches in Calverton from a member of the public at 8:45 p.m., of 18 inches in Manorville from a trained spotter at 9:20 p.m. and of 23.4 inches from an FAA observer at Islip Airport at 1 a.m.

While the blizzard warning remains in effect until 7 a.m., snow has stopped falling across the region, and NWS is predicting “no significant snowfall over the next 72 hours.”

Governor Cuomo’s travel ban is expected to be lifted at 7 a.m., and LIRR is expected to assess rail lines by 6 a.m. to determine if they can be opened.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone issued the following statement at midnight:

“The snowfall is projected to taper off around 1 or 2 a.m. here in Suffolk County, however the strong winds are still blowing snow back onto roadways and creating snow drifts, making an already tough cleanup even more difficult. Parts of our county have reported snow accumulations of as much as 27 inches and wind gusts of up to 65 mph during this blizzard.

The travel ban is still in effect but as of right now it is expected to be lifted at 7 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday) morning. That being said, any unnecessary travel should still be avoided to help our cleanup crews and emergency service personnel traverse roads more easily and to ensure your own personal safety.”

Mr. Bellone is providing regular updates on his Facebook page here.

As of 3:35 a.m., the significant power outages in Montauk as of the 9:30 p.m. update were still lingering, along with small-scale outages in Springs, Northwest Woods, Amagansett, Hayground, Noyac, Sebonac, Ponquogue and Westhampton Beach. PSEG-Long Island is currently reporting no power outages on the North Fork. In all, they’re reporting that 207 customers are without power on Long Island, most of them on the South Fork.

The Southold Town transfer station in Cutchogue, which had been slated to open at 7 a.m. today, will instead be opening at noon.

And all sorts of government officials are asking you to dig out your fire hydrants and check on your neighbors when you wake up.

Update 9:30 p.m.

Just in case...
Just in case…

We have some more accumulation figures from NWS as of 7:41 p.m. An amateur radio operator in Flanders reported 10 inches of snow at 4:45 p.m. A co-op observer in Riverhead reported 15 inches of snow at 6 p.m., a NWS employee in Bay Shore reported 19 inches at 7 p.m. and an FAA observer at Islip Airport reported 22 inches at 7 p.m.

The record snowfall in New York City was set on Feb. 11-12 in 2006, with 26.9 inches on the ground when the snow stopped falling. Central Park was reporting 25.1 inches as of 7 p.m. tonight.

PSEG-Long Island reported at 9 p.m. that 857 customers on Long Island are currently without power and power has been restored to 24,000 customers. Their current outage map shows only two concentrations of large blocks of customers without power — in Springs, 80 customers are without power near Barnes Landing and Louse Point, and in Montauk 81 customers near Montauk Highway just east of East Lake Drive are without power, along with another cluster of 60 customers on East Lake Drive near the Montauk Airport.

We’re currently in the middle of the high point of the evening tide cycle, expected to be the worst tide cycle of this storm.

Update 6 p.m.

Unofficial storm accumulation observations from the National Weather Service came in at 5:04 p.m. An FAA observer at Islip Airport reported 19.1 inches at 4 p.m., a trained spotter in Manorville reported 16.5 inches at 4:30 p.m. and a trained spotter in Shoreham reported 10 inches at 2:30 p.m. We’re expecting another 3 to 8 inches of snow tonight, with the lighter amounts farther east on the forks.

We have no numbers yet from spotters on the East End, and the funeral for our most reliable spotter, Richard Hendrickson of Bridgehampton, was postponed today due to the storm. We’d like to think Richard would find that fitting.

Update 5 p.m.

As of 5 p.m., nearly all of the major power outages on the East End have been restored by PSEG-Long Island, and a crew has been assigned to repair an outage affecting 165 customers near Swamp Road and Old Northwest Road in East Hampton. Power is expected to be restored there by 12:15 a.m.  A crew has also been assigned to restore power for 81 customers near Montauk Highway in Montauk, where power is expected to be restored by 11:15 p.m. Another outage affecting 77 customers on East Lake Drive has recently been reported, and there are other localized outages near Ditch Plains, Fort Pond and Second House Road and at the end of Flamingo Avenue.

Fifty-nine people are without power just north of Route 48 in Southold. A group of 18 outages in Amagansett and 15 outages in Hampton Bays are lingering, 8 people are without power in the Bay Point community near Sag Harbor. and fewer than five people are without power near Downs Creek in Cutchogue, Pipes Cove in Greenport, off Doctors Path in Riverhead, at Orient Point, and at Red Creek in Hampton Bays.

Island-wide, PSEG-Long Island says they’ve restored power to more than 18,000 customers and 868 are currently without power.

Update 2 p.m.

Governor Cuomo has banned travel on all state and county roads as of 2:30 p.m., and the Long Island Rail Road will stop service as of 4 p.m.

Update 12:30 p.m.

The latest National Weather Service Blizzard Warning, issued just before 11 a.m., calls for an increased snowfall total of 18 to 24 inches by 7 a.m. Sunday. Their 4 a.m. update had estimated 15 to 20 inches.

The latest snow total forecast map shows most of Riverhead, East Hampton and Southampton Towns will receive 18 to 24 inches of snow, while the North Fork, Shelter Island and Montauk are expected to receive 12 to 18 inches of snow. Portions of the Napeague stretch may receive just 6 to 8 inches of snow.

PSEG-Long Island has reportedly cleared up the major power outages in Westhampton and Greenport, along with minor outages in East Marion and New Suffolk. Crews have been assigned to outages in Montauk, Amagansett, Springs and Shinnecock Hills. Crews have also been assigned to a new block of 136 customers without power near Old Stone Highway in Amagansett and to a new block of 389 customers without power near Pleasure Drive in Flanders.

Update 11 a.m.

Sag Harbor Village has declared a state of emergency and is asking residents to stay off the roads until noon tomorrow so that plows can do their work.

Update 10:45 a.m.

The New Suffolk boat ramp, 10:30 a.m.
The New Suffolk boat ramp, 10:30 a.m.

East Hampton Town and Village declared a state of emergency at 10 a.m. They’re advising the public not to drive and to not park their vehicles on the road. The town is preparing to open shelters in Montauk and East Hampton if necessary.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell reported on WLNG this morning that the town’s beaches, including the downtown Montauk stabilization project, held up well through the first high tide cycle this morning, and the town will be monitoring this evening’s high tide cycle.

PSEG-Long Island has reported that 98 people are without power near Bluff Road in Amagansett.

Update 10:10 a.m.

Montauk has just reported that 967 people are without power. A PSEG-Long Island crew has been assigned to this outage. Crews have also been assigned to restore power to 87 residents in Water Mill and 55 residents in Shinnecock Hills, as well as the aforementioned outages in Westhampton and East Marion. The power has also just gone out at 82 properties in Springs.

Update 9:50 a.m.

We have a report of a major power outage along Route 48 in Greenport just east of Hashamomuck Pond, with 346 customers without power. A crew has been assigned to this outage. Another major outage has been reported west of County Road 31 in Westhampton, with 82 customers without power. There are several instances where several people are without power in New Suffolk, along Route 25 in Cutchogue, in the Bayview and Soundview sections of Southold, in East Marion and in Shinnecock Hills and North Sea. Crews have been assigned to Shinnecock Hills and New Suffolk.

Southampton Town issued a state of emergency beginning at 9 am. According to the notice, “residents are encouraged to remain off the roads and are asked to remove all vehicles that may be parked in the roadway. Expect unannounced road closures and flooding in low lying areas. Town facilities will remain closed until further notice. Storm related emergencies can be reported to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 631.728.3405.

Update 9 a.m.

We have a report here that power has been out on 4th Street in New Suffolk since 6:30 a.m. PSEG-Long Island says a crew has been assigned and they’re hoping to restore power by 4 p.m. This is the only current power outage on the East End as of 9 a.m. PSEG-Long Island’s power outage center is online here.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone issued a state of emergency at 8 a.m. and is asking the public to stay off the roads to allow plows to do their jobs. All Suffolk County bus service is suspended.

If you are in need of emergency housing, the county’s Department of Social Services Emergency Services Unit number is 631.854.9100. The county is asking people to only dial 911 for life threatening emergencies. County Police can be reached at 631.852.2677 for non-life-threatening emergencies. Suffolk County’s Office of Emergency Management’s 24-hour number is 631.852.4900.

Update 8:45 a.m.

At 8:18 a.m. NWS reported “an intense snow band has developed over the region, with snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour being observed. This snow band will move very little through this morning. Travel is not recommended this morning due to whiteout conditions. The snow is blown around by northeast winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts 40 to 50 mpg. Many roads will likely be becoming impassible due to the rapidly accumulating and drifting snow. Scattered downed limbs and power lines will add an additional hazard for travelers.”

Original Story

Today’s blizzard was well underway as of 8 a.m., and we’re currently under a National Weather Service Blizzard Warning through 7 a.m. Sunday.

The Blizzard Warning reminds motorists that there will be near zero visibility on Long Island’s roads throughout the day today.

As of the latest update to the warning at 4 a.m., accumulations were expected to be 15 to 20 inches on Long Island, “with locally higher amounts possible and lesser amounts over the forks region of Long Island.” That’s us!

NWS Snow Accumulation Forecast, 6:06 a.m. Jan. 23.
NWS Snow Accumulation Forecast, 6:06 a.m. Jan. 23.

The current snow accumulation forecast, issued at 6:06 a.m., shows most of the southern half of Long Island west of the forks getting 18 to 24 inches of snow, while the twin forks and the North Shore are expected to get 12 to 18 inches. Some areas along the Napeague stretch are forecast to get just 4 to 6 inches of snow, a serious anomaly, since neighboring Montauk is also currently forecast to get 12 to 18 inches.

We are under a coastal flood advisory from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, and then again from 5 p.m. tonight to 1 a.m. Sunday, coinciding with the times of high tide in the area. NWS is currently forecasting tidal departures of 1.5 to 3 feet above normal during both the morning and evening tide cycles. The moon is full tonight, which makes the normal astronomical high tide higher than usual as well.

NWS says they’re expecting “minor” flooding in Montauk and Orient and “moderate” flooding in Riverhead.

Riverhead Town is warning residents that “if you are in a coastal flood prone area, you will experience flooding during Saturday’s high tide cycle. Take all necessary precautions, such as moving vehicles away from those areas.” Riverhead’s non-emergency police number is 631.727.4500, but anyone with a true emergency should dial 911.

A high surf advisory is also in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday.

Below are the times of high tides anticipated on the East End this weekend.

Saturday, January 23
Montauk Harbor: 8:05 a.m., 8:25 p.m.
Orient: 9:06 a.m., 9:26 p.m.
Greenport: 9:34 a.m., 9:54 p.m.
Sag Harbor: 9:29 a.m., 9:49 p.m.
South Jamesport: 11:03 a.m., 11:23 p.m.
Shinnecock Inlet: 6:21 a.m., 6:49 p.m.

Sunday, January 24
Montauk Harbor: 8:50 a.m., 9:11 p.m.
Orient: 9:51 a.m., 10:12 p.m.
Greenport: 10:19 a.m., 10:40 p.m.
Sag Harbor: 10:14 a.m., 10:35 p.m.
South Jamesport: 11:48 a.m.
Shinnecock Inlet: 7:05 a.m., 7:34 p.m.

Southampton Town closed Dune Road at 3 p.m. Friday until further notice between the Ponquogue Bridge and west to the Quogue Village line due to the potential for overwash and flooding along that stretch of road.

At the water's edge.
At the water’s edge.

Southampton is urging residents confronted with a storm-related emergency to call 631.728.3400.

Citizens who experience power outages during the storm can report those outages directly to PSEG at 800.490.0075. Senior citizens can call the town’s Senior Hotline at 631.728.1235 in the event of a storm-related emergency. Notification will be issued if shelters or warming centers are needed.

East Hampton Town is asking residents to call 911 with emergency calls, but to call their police headquarters at 631.537.7575 with non-emergency calls relating to the snowstorm. They’re asking everyone who can to stay off the roads, and they plan to open warming and charging centers if there are widespread power outages.

Shelter Island Town is asking residents with non-life-threatening emergencies to call 631.749.0600. PSEG-Long Island will have service crews on the island all weekend to respond to the storm.

As of 8:20 a.m. Saturday, PSEG-Long Island was not reporting any power outages on the East End.

Southampton town transfer stations will be closed Saturday with a delayed opening at noon on Sunday.

All Southold Town facilities are closed on Saturday, including the Southold Town Transfer Station in Cutchogue, which is slated to re-open at 7 a.m. Sunday.

The Village of Greenport has asked its residents to keep their cars off the street to allow plow crews to work. The ice skating rink and carousel are closed. Porters who are facing power outages within the village’s electric grid can call 631.477.0172 to report the outage.

We will update this story with any future advisories about flooding or other hazards. Our storm cancellation page has details on weather closures and is online here. Our Twitter feed for the storm is online here.

Current information is always available on NWS’s New York winter weather page.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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