• Now is the time to prepare for weather that is expected to plunge dramatically over the next couple days, as a fast-moving Alberta clipper barrels south, bringing with it the coldest weather yet this season. Temperatures are expected to hit a high of 36 degrees today and then not break out of the 20s for the rest of the week. We’re expecting light snow Tuesday, with accumulations of about 2 inches, with the coldest night-time temperature of the week at 7 degrees Wednesday night, followed by a high of just 20 degrees on Thursday. We’re expecting to see temperatures above 30 again by Sun., Jan. 11.
• As of Jan. 1, smokers between the ages of 19 and 21 in Suffolk County are out of luck, as a new county law goes into effect banning the sale of cigarettes to anyone less than 21 years old. The law had previously banned the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19. The county has scheduled a series of informational meetings for tobacco sellers and has signage available for store owners on their website here. The signs are also available at the county health department office at 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Building C928, Smithtown, NY 11787, or by calling 631.853.3162.
• The tree-destroying southern pine beetle, found last fall in four wildlife refuges on Long Island, has now been found in Brookhaven State Park in Wading River and three other state parks farther west in Suffolk County, the state office of parks and recreation reported this week. The beetle thrives particularly well on the pitch pines found in Long Island’s pine barrens. The state DEC has not yet authorized a method to control the infestation. The DEC is asking the public to report recently killed pine trees with signs of the infestation to the NYS DEC Forest Health Information Line at 1-866-640-0652 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Beacon’s update on stories we’ll be following closely this year went live over this weekend, and we’re expecting some buzz this week on our top story: helicopter traffic in East Hampton. Advocates for control of helicopter traffic plan to storm the East Hampton Town Board’s first work session of the new year tomorrow, Jan. 6, beginning at 10 a.m. at East Hampton Town Hall, with public pleas to curb the noise.
• Seventeen neighbors of the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund have filed a lawsuit against both the Waterfront Fund and the Southold Town Planning Board over the board’s approval of the non-profit Waterfront Fund’s plan to renovate and re-open the Galley Ho restaurant, arguing that the project should have been subject to more stringent environmental review. The Beacon’s full story is online here.
• The Quogue Wildlife Refuge celebrates the New Year’s moon tonight with a full moon walk beginning at 4:30 p.m. More information is online here.
And that’s the way things look at dawn’s light here today.