Snowstorm Dumps Up To 10 Inches Of Snow On East End

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UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.

According to a joint press release from the East Hampton village and town police departments, the East Hampton Emergency Operations Center will shut down at 3 p.m. Friday.

The center’s phone numbers will no longer be in use, so the public should call 537-7575 to contact Town Police and 324-0777 to contact the Village Police, for non-emergency situations.

For emergencies, call 911.

Both the village and town are still under a state of emergency.

UPDATE, 12:15 p.m.

Sag Harbor Village Police are reporting that the warnings to stay indoors and avoid traveling on the roads if at all possible were heeded, as no emergency calls due to the snow were placed last night and no car accidents were reported to them. Village officials also said that the road clearing, aided by the new brine tank solution sprayed on roads a few days ago, went smoothly and all roads were cleared by about 11 a.m.

UPDATE, 10:50 a.m.

The National Weather Service expects light to moderate snow, if any, to taper off Friday after an estimated accumulation of some 8 to 10 inches.

A coastal flood advisory, which went into effect at 9 a.m. Friday in anticipation of the 9:50 a.m. high tide, will end at 1 p.m.

Joey Picca, a meteorologist with the weather service in Upton, said the flood advisory was mainly for the ocean-facing beaches and that the water level should be slowly going down, although the most vulnerable parts of the shoreline may still experience some flooding. There has been what he called “some good wave action with the strong winds,” which a handful of intrepid surfers were taking advantage of in Montauk Friday morning.

Temperatures are still expected to be quite cold across the South Fork on Friday, with wind chills around zero and as cold as 5 below. They will be about zero in Westhampton Beach Friday night, staying in the single digits across the South Fork, Mr. Picca predicted.

Highs on Saturday should get into the upper 20s or even the low 30s, with the wind dying off.

A National Weather Service blizzard warning ends at 1 p.m. on Friday.

UPDATE, 10:30 a.m.

Southampton Town Police said most people seemed to heed the recommendations that they stay indoors and off the roads last night, as there were few storm-related incidents.

Sergeant Andrew Ficurilli said there were five minor car accidents in Southampton Town since midnight, though none resulted in serious injury or damage.

He added that the crews were out working all night and the roads were passable this morning.

“It was a very uneventful night,” he said. “Most people stayed home.”

UPDATE, 10 a.m.

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor says that while roads are now mostly passable motorists should continue to stay off them unless absolutely necessary.

Some roads, like Scuttlhole Road in Bridgehampton, are experiencing heavy drifting in the high winds.

“I’m on Scuttlhole now and it’s brutal, we’re going back and forth with the snowblower but the wind won’t let up and it’s drifting,” Mr. Gregor said. “We’re hoping the winds will let up about one o’clock.”

High winds hampered road plowing efforts throughout the night. Crews from East Hampton and Southampton Town’s worked throughout the night to keep pushing quickly accumulating and drifting snow off the main thoroughfares.

“We’d make a pass, two trucks and go up and turn around and come back in a few minutes and it would be like we’d never been there,” said and East Hampton Town plow driver coming off an overnight shift on Friday morning. “The wind is the problem.”

Snow was still falling in East Hampton at 10:30 on Friday morning but was forecast to end by noon, with clearning skies and falling temperatures expected throughout the afternoon and evening. Even as the snow ends, drifting will continue to be a problem on some roads until late Friday night, when winds are expected to die down significantly.

Residents should be aware of the frigid temperatures, including windchills below zero, that are going to follow the snow storm and be aware that bare skin can become frostbitten in just a matter of minutes.

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said so far there have been no major issues across East Hampton Town since the blizzard blew in, bringing about 8 inches of snow.

“Highway crews have been out throughout the night and roads are improving,” he said. “Unfortunately, people are venturing out driving too soon, which is causing difficulties for highway crews trying to keep up with the clearing, packing down on what is still on the roads.”

He and Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell both advise not venturing out unless it is absolutely necessary.

“Our primary concern is personal safety,” Mr. Cantwell said. “If you don’t have to go out, I would not do so. The roads are slick.”

Chief Sarlo said that a lot of people might think that having a four by four vehicle would ease driving in the snow and ice, but that sometimes isn’t the case.

“They don’t help you stop and starting from a stopped position often will cause fish-tailing and skidding out,” he said.

He offered some advice to those who go out on Friday and Saturday: “Please do not pass slower moving vehicles as changing lanes and overtaking is very hazardous in slippery conditions. You can cause vehicles around you to leave the plowed portion of the road and lose control.”

Mr. Cantwell said that the Town Hall offices are closed today but the Emergency Operations Center on Cedar Street is still open until the state of emergency is lifted.

He said that before they make the call, Town and Village officials will need to take into account the temperature and road conditions.

As of 9:30 a.m., the roads were passable but streets near open areas were subject to dangerous snow drifts.

Chief Sarlo said the police department is monitoring Gerard Drive in Springs, which has been somewhat washed out, and have closed the roadway. He said no evacuations have happened yet.

Mr. Cantwell said in addition to public safety, the Town is concerned about erosion along the coast, which seems to be light, he added.

“Our people have been looking for any erosion damage that may occur,” he said. “But at this point temperatures are going to plummet and the wind chill will be below zero overnight.”

No power outages had been reported in the town, but because of the expected drop in temperature, officials are bracing themselves to help those who lose power.

“Please check on your elderly neighbors and try to clean off your walkways and vehicles during the day as lower temperatures will cause freezing and dangerous conditions as we head toward evening,” Chief Sarlo said.

Mr. Cantwell, on his second day of being Town Supervisor, said that the blizzard isn’t taking him for a ride.

“As village administrator for 30 years, I’ve been dealing with emergency conditions and experienced what the steps are,” he said. “I have a good team. I’ve had the best experience between the Town Highway Superintendent Stephen Lynch, Chief Sarlo, and Bruce Bates, the emergency preparedness coordinator. We’ve had good coordination and cooperation.”

Accoring to East Hampton Village Administrator Becky Molinaro, Village Hall is also closed today and the Public Works Supervisor, Scott Fithian, said to stay off the roads because they are icy.

East Hampton Village Police Captain Mike Tracey said that while conditions were generally good, there was poor visibility and slippery conditions while the highway crews were still working to clear roads. He said there are icy patches below snow cover within the village.

UPDATE, Friday, 6:55 a.m.

Between 7 and 8 inches of snow fell overnight on the East End, with flurries expected to continue to about 10 a.m. while further snowfall expected of 2 to 3 more inches. Wind will continue to gust at 20 to 40 mph, with frigid temperatures.

A blizzard warning remains in effect until 1 p.m.

The Long Island Expressway will remain closed until 8 a.m., and the LIRR is on a weekend schedule.

A coastal flood advisory has been issued for coastal areas, including Suffolk County.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.

The National Weather Service continued to warn of blizzard conditions for the East End, predicting snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches or more in some places. Wind chills of zero to 5 below zero degrees are predicted from late Thursday into Friday.

Snow is expected to become heavier in the overnight, creating whiteout conditions and making travel “extremely dangerous.” The weather service warns that wind chills could lead to frostbite or hypothermia. It has warned people not to travel and, if they absolutely must, to take along a winter survival kit and stay with their vehicles if stranded.

UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York on Thursday evening and said that the Long Island Expressway will be closed from midnight to 5 a.m. on Friday.

As of 4 p.m., East Hampton Town was under a state of emergency. According to the Town’s website, parking along public roadways is prohibited and parked vehicles may be towed.

UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst has declared a limited state of snow emergency effective as of 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon. As a result, all Southampton Town facilities will close Thursday night at 6 p.m. and will remain closed on Friday, January 3.

Town officials are urging residents to stay off of the roads. Residents are also asked to park all vehicles off of the road to facilitate plowing.

UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.

East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. declared a state of emergency, effective 4 p.m. on Thursday, according to a press release sent by the Village Police Department.

UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.

Southampton Hospital is reporting that it is fully prepared for the anticipated overnight storm, with contingencies in place for stranded staff, a loss of power, an increased number of patients admitted or seen in the emergency room, and even time-sensitive blood-work that needs to be moved to or from one of their 23 satellite offices.

Noting that much of the staff working on Thursday brought an overnight bag in case they are needed through the night and into Friday, hospital spokeswoman Marsha Kenny said that in addition to the normal emergency preparedness procedures in place, the hospital has readied their fleet of SUVs for the winter weather. If the Long Island Rail Road or any major roads are shut down and necessary hospital staff cannot make it to work, she said the hospital will be sending one of the fleet to pickup and deliver them.

“We are as prepared as possible for any kind of an emergency and will be here for those that need our help during this storm,” Ms. Kenny said.

UPDATE, 2:25 p.m.

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor asked residents to avoid parking on streets or in municipal parking lots on Thursday night and Friday morning to help plows clear roads and lots during and after the blizzard.

Mr. Gregor said crews put a salty brine on town roads Thursday morning and were prepared to plow roads as snowfall intensified Thursday evening and through the night. The highway department expected to have 54 trucks and crews working around the clock to plow and sand roads, as well as a dozen or more private contractors to augment the town’s resources.

The Highway Department was expecting the town to get between 6 and 8 inches of snow overnight.

If the town declares a snow emergency this afternoon, as expected, Mr. Gregor said that highway crews will clear private and unimproved roads once the town roads are cleared. Any ambulance, fire or police calls to private roads during the storm will be accompanied by town plows.

UPDATE, 1:16 p.m.

In a roundtable meeting at 11 a.m., East Hampton Town officials gathered to make sure all hands were on deck for the quickly approaching snowstorm.

Newly sworn-in East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he was poised to declare a state of emergency at 4 p.m. and ask residents and workers to remove their vehicles from roadways by 5 p.m. to make way for snow plows.

Highway Superintendent Stephen Lynch said crews would likely begin removing snow off the streets early Friday morning.

“From 6 to 8 tonight, it’s really going to be bad—there will be whiteout conditions,” he said at the meeting. “On major roads, cars that are parked need to be removed because we don’t want to have property damage. Last year with Nemo, we got all the vehicles on Amagansett’s main street moved into the back parking lot.”

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said his department would aid the town in getting people off the streets, keep watch on roads that are typically troublesome in winter weather in addition to helping people in need.

East Hampton Town was not planning to open heating centers, but if there is a wide-spread power outage, the Montauk Community Playhouse, at 240 Edgemere Street, and the American Legion at 15 Montauk Highway in Amagansett, would be opened for shelter.

Mr. Cantwell stressed the importance of having help available for individuals who do not have power, saying that last year he picked up a woman and her dog in the middle of the night and took them to East Hampton Village Hall, where he worked as village administrator, until the woman’s power came back on.

“My concern is about isolated cases,” he said. “We need to have a plan available to deal with that as well. I hate to think that there would be someone in that situation and we would not be able to fill that need.”

Chief Sarlo said that for non-emergencies, people should call the Public Service Electric and Gas Company, which took over for the Long Island Power Authority, Emergency Operation Center at the Emergency Services Building on Cedar Street in the village. Call 907-9743 or 907-9796.

Officials agreed that individuals needing a warm place would be taken to a staffed town facility.

Seniors at adult day care would likely be sent home early on Thursday with frozen meals to beat the blizzard.

Diane Patrizio, the town’s director of human services, said senior centers would be closed on Friday since transportation would not be feasible.

At the end of the emergency preparedness meeting, Mr. Cantwell encouraged his new colleagues.

“Whatever I can do to help and support you guys, I’m ready to do,” he said.

According to Jennifer Garvey, the deputy chief of staff for Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, staff will be on-call to open the Hampton Bays Senior Center at 25 Ponquogue Avenue as a warming center if needed, but the decision to open the center had not been made.

She said all senior clients would be sent home Thursday with an extra meal—a total of three for Friday and the weekend—in case the center is closed on Friday.

If the snow proves to be too great, there will be no regular transportation for seniors.

“The senior center staff will call clients throughout the day to be sure they are safe and comfortable,” she said.

UPDATE, THURSDAY, 10:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service in Upton has issued a blizzard warning from 6 p.m. on Thursday through 1 p.m. on Friday, with temperatures expected to drop to the “negative single digits” with the wind chill factored in on Thursday night and early Friday morning.

Residents of East Hampton and Southampton towns can expect a light wintry mix of snow and rain, perhaps a drizzle, during the day on Thursday, with the potential for freezing rain if the temperature dips below 32 degrees.

However, conditions are expected to deteriorate at about 6 p.m. on Thursday, with snow and wind picking up intensity and the roads at their worst for about three hours starting about 10 or 11 p.m., according to David Stark, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Upton office. Winds may reach 30 miles per hour, gusts as much as 45 mph, snow is expected to be blowing and visibility could be as low as a quarter-mile or less, Mr. Stark said, adding that “travel is not recommended.” Blizzard conditions are expected to continue until about sunrise. Between 6 and 10 inches of snow are expected to accumulate.

Temperatures are expected to be in the teens in the overnight of Thursday and Friday morning, but will feel much colder given the wind chill factor. “Definitely bundle up,” the meteorologist advised, adding that the forecast is for “a little bit more dangerous type of wind chill than what were used to around here.

“When we’re in the minus single digits … you want to keep yourself protected,” exposing as little skin as possible when outdoors, Mr. Stark said.

The snow is expected to end at about noon on Friday, with the wind continuing to blow vigorously on Friday afternoon and perhaps letting up by Saturday morning. Untreated roads may be icy on Friday night, and caution is advised for those who venture out then.

The temperature is expected to rise to the 20s on Saturday, and all the way up to the 40s on Sunday, according to Mr. Stark.

ORIGINAL STORY

The National Weather Service has forecast heavy snow along with “dangerously cold” wind chills beginning Thursday night through Friday afternoon, with wind gusts up to 50 mph for the East End.

The “near blizzard” conditions are expected to produce at least 6 to 8 inches of snow, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Pollina.

He said weather forecasters are mostly concerned with the freezing temperatures, however.

“The snow won’t have that much of an impact, but one thing to note is how cold it’s going to be,” he said.

Mr. Pollina expects temperatures to drop to around 20 degrees Thursday night into Friday morning, with wind chills around 0 degrees. He said the temperature will not get above freezing until Sunday, when it is expected to reach the 40s.

There is a 20 percent chance of snow Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning, the likelihood of snowfall will hit 60 percent and will continue to increase. Mr. Pollina said the bulk of the snow will fall Thursday night into Friday morning.

He said rain will wash some of the snow away Sunday, but anything that is still around by Tuesday will remain since temperatures will be back down to the 20s by that point.

The National Weather Service said that accumulating snow with “considerable” blowing and drifting snow could create hazardous travel conditions, and there will be minor to moderate coastal flooding.

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