All of Long Island is under a blizzard warning beginning 1 p.m. today, and Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging everyone who commutes to work to stay home today, if possible, as many major highways, including the Long Island Expressway, may be closed before the afternoon commute.
Southold Town has issued a warning to residents of a storm that will bring “wind gusts reaching 65 miles per hour, wind chills in the single digits and drifting snow.”
They’re asking residents to stock up on supplies in anticipation of power outages and to keep driving to a minimum and monitor local radio stations and websites for more information.
East Hampton Town is urging all residents to monitor the National Weather Service advisories, network news channels, LTV channels 20 & 22, and the town website for further information.
Box stores in Riverhead were calm Sunday night before the storm, while there were not yet lines at gas stations throughout the East End. But that could change today as the public comes to grips with the severity of the storm.
The National Weather Service’s Blizzard Warning for Long Island is effective 1 p.m. Monday through midnight Tuesday, with accumulations expected to total 18 to 30 inches, with snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour late tonight into Tuesday morning.
The winds associated with the storm are expected to be worst on the East End, with steady winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour and gusts reaching 65 miles per hour. At the height of the storm, we’re expecting white-out conditions, and drifts of dry, powdery snow could make driving difficult after the storm, particularly along long stretches of farm fields.
The National Weather Service describes the storm as “life-threating conditions and extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds with whiteout conditions. Many roads may become impassable. Strong winds may down power lines and tree limbs.”
Along with the snow, we’re expecting moderate coastal flooding and likely some serious beach erosion on the East End.
High tides are expected to be 2 to 3 feet above normal, with a possibility of 3.5 feet above normal. In contrast, Superstorm Sandy brought tides of about 5 to 6 feet above normal to the East End.
High tide at Montauk Point is at 2:14 a.m. and is expected to be 4.7 to 5.7 feet above mean low water. High tide at Orient Point is at 3:50 a.m. and is expected to be 5.2 to 6.2 feet above mean low water and high tide at Riverhead is at 5:23 a.m. and is expected to be 5.8 yo 6.8 feet above mean low water. These are all considered to be “moderate” flood conditions by the National Weather Service.
According to the National Weather Service, we’re expecting “beach erosion and washovers along the ocean-facing barrier beaches of Eastern Long Island due to 8 to 12 foot waves and high storm tide. In addition, high wave action will cause beach erosion along north facing shorelines with open exposure to Long Island Sound and Gardiners Bays. A few exposed waterfront structures may be damaged.”
The state has activated troops at the Westhampton Air National Guard Base, who will be on call 24 hours a day with vehicles to respond to emergencies.
The LIRR will provide extra trains departing from Penn Station between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday for the convenience of commuters who want to leave work early ahead of the storm. The LIRR may need to suspend service as of 11 p.m. tonight.
Local scools are in session today, but, as of 7:30 a.m., Mattituck has cancelled after-school activities, Amagansett is weighing the possibility of an early dismissal and Montauk is releasing students at 11:30 a.m.(pre-K at 11 a.m.). The East Hampton School District has cancelled tomorrow night’s budget workshop. The Beacon’s full list of closings is online here.