Saturday’s Storm Forecast: What We Know, and What We Don’t Know

The National Weather Service's experimental "most likely snowfall" accumulation map for this weekend's storm, as of 3:37 a.m. Thursday
The National Weather Service’s experimental “most likely snowfall” accumulation map for this weekend’s storm, as of 3:37 a.m. Thursday.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published just before 9 a.m. Jan. 21. It will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. As of Jan. 23, we’ve moved our coverage to this page here for the duration of the storm.

Update Jan. 22 8:13 p.m.

The latest National Weather Service likely snow accumulation map at 6:40 p.m. show most of the East End getting 11 inches of snow, with Montauk getting 10 inches. The most recent blizzard warning at 3:50 p.m. puts Long Island accumulation numbers at 10 to 18 inches.

Update Jan. 22 3:10 p.m.
Southampton Town has just announced that Dune Road will be closed from 3 p.m. Friday until further notice between the Ponquogue Bridge and west to the Quogue Village line.

Southampton is urging residents confronted with a storm related emergency to call 631.728.3400. Citizens who may 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.

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

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

Update Jan. 22 11 a.m.

The National Weather Service blizzard and coastal flood watches are now warnings. Watches become warnings when projected weather is expected within 12 to 18 hours.

The Jan. 22, 3:57 a.m. update of the "most likely snow accumulation" map.
The Jan. 22, 3:57 a.m. update of the “most likely snow accumulation” map.

The NWS “most likely snow accumulation map” issued just before 4 a.m. today puts likely accumulation at 7 inches across the North Fork and the eastern portion of the South Fork, with western and southwestern Southampton Town accumulation at 8 inches.

While these numbers have been fluctuating since originally forecast, the potential for the snow to turn to freezing rain and sleet late Saturday afternoon increases the danger of this storm, causing icy roads and the potential for power outages as ice collects on power lines and tree limbs.

The Blizzard Warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Saturday to noon on Sunday.

The Village of Greenport has asked its residents to keep their cars off the street to allow plow crews to work.

Update Jan. 21 5:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood watch for all of Long Island at 4:11 p.m. Thursday, and the watch will be in effect until 11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23.

The National Weather Service says tides will be 3 to 4 feet above their normal levels, which are already elevated this weekend due to the full moon. They expect the greatest impact will be during the Saturday evening tide cycle. They’re also expecting erosion of dunes and localized overwash of South Shore barrier beaches.

The 5:04 p.m. update of the "most likely snow accumulation" map.
The 5:04 p.m. update of the “most likely snow accumulation” map.

According to the National Weather Service, there will be “widespread flooding of vulnerable shore roads and/or basements” with the evening high tide cycle. “Lives may be at risk for people who put themselves in harm’s way.”

The full alert is online here.

The 4:02 p.m. update of the NWS Blizzard Watch puts snow accumulation levels at 6 to 10 inches, not 8 to 12 inches as originally warned.

County Executive Steve Bellone announced this afternoon that Suffolk County Police Department will have Humvees stationed at each precinct to assist stranded motorists and Suffolk County Fire Rescue and Emergency Services and the Department of Public Works will be working to keep everyone safe. But he’s urging everyone to just stay home.

Original Story Follows:

As Long Island is clipped on Saturday by the northern end of the massive winter storm making its way across the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, areas of the East End could see dramatically differing snowfall amounts, depending on location.

The timing of the snowstorm has shifted a bit later than originally expected, and is now expected by the National Weather Service to begin Saturday morning, not Friday night. It’s looking like the snowfall totals on the East End could be higher than early models suggested.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Watch from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon for the five boroughs of New York and Long Island, with “heavy snow along with strong and potentially damaging winds.”

While the Blizzard Watch, issued this morning at 3:42 a.m., cites “snow accumulation of 8 to 12 inches” across the region, local totals are currently modeled to be a bit lower.

NWS minimum potential snow accumulation map generated 3:37 a.m. Jan. 21
NWS minimum potential snow accumulation map generated 3:37 a.m. Jan. 21

The National Weather Service is currently predicting possible totals between 5 and 11 inches in Riverhead. Four to 8 inches are expected in Greenport and Montauk is expected to see 2 to 5 inches of snow. We will update this information if it changes.

NWS’s experimental snow accumulation potential maps put the minimum snowfall totals at about 2 inches on the North Fork and in Montauk, at about 3 inches in Riverhead and Shelter Island and at about 4 inches across much of Southampton and East Hampton towns.

Their maximum snowfall potential maps show a potential maximum of 16 inches in Riverhead, 13 inches across much of the South Fork, and 9 inches in Montauk.

These maps were prepared in the wee hours of Thursday morning and could change as predictions improve over the next two days.

NWS maximum potential snow accumulation map generated 3:37 a.m. Jan. 21
NWS maximum potential snow accumulation map generated 3:37 a.m. Jan. 21

But the snow is not the only issue this storm will bring our way. Winds across the East End are expected to gust up to nearly 50 miles per hour throughout the storm, which is expected to begin just before noon Saturday and continue through the night, perhaps briefly changing to rain and sleet in some areas Saturday afternoon. The potential ice accumulation damage here to electric lines and tree limbs is a real threat with this storm.

The National Weather Service is warning of “extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snow and strong winds with whiteout conditions likely. Secondary and tertiary roads may become impassible. Strong winds may down power lines and tree limbs.”

The storm will also coincide with the full moon this weekend, which could bring with it coastal flooding, though no flood watch has yet been issued.

Below are the times of high tides anticipated on the East End this weekend. We will update this story with any future advisories about flooding or other hazards. Current information is always available on NWS’s New York winter weather page. More information on preparing for the storm is online here.

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.



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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