With a potentially major snowstorm on Long Island’s doorstep, Riverhead schools and businesses are closing tomorrow in anticipation of dangerous travel conditions, 55 mile-per-hour wind gusts and possible power outages.
The storm, which is forecast to bring between eight and 12 inches of snow to the East End, will be accompanied by high winds and snowfall rates of two to four inches per hour at its peak, according to the National Weather Service forecast. A winter storm warning is in effect for the East End of Long Island from 12 a.m. Tuesday morning until 12 a.m. Wednesday.
“Everyone needs to stay off the roads tomorrow,” said Gio Woodson, Riverhead Town Highway Superintendent. “It’s hard enough doing this job without having people stuck all over the place.”
Riverhead Town is declaring a winter storm event tonight, which means that parking on town streets is banned for the duration of the storm. Garbage pickup tomorrow has been canceled.
Riverhead Central School District has closed all schools tomorrow and canceled after-school activities. The school board meeting scheduled for tomorrow night has also been canceled. (For a full list of closings and cancellations, click here)
Woodson says highway department crew members have been busy all day preparing the town’s snow removal equipment. He says the department has “plenty of salt” for the storm.
But he emphasized that residents should avoid all unnecessary travel during the storm tomorrow. “People out on the roads will be the biggest problem,” he said. “It slows things down.”
Snow is expected to begin falling around 3 a.m. tomorrow morning. The storm is forecast to dump between eight and 12 inches of snow across the East End of Long Island before the precipitation switches over to sleet and freezing rain in the early afternoon. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing again after nightfall, so the precipitation could switch over to snow again before the storm departs.
The storm will be accompanied by winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour, with gusts up to 55 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
Moderate coastal flooding is also expected due to elevated tides of 2.5 to 3.5 feet above astronomical tides. A coastal flood warning will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The combination of heavy, wet snows and high winds creates a potential for power outages. A mobile-friendly outage map is available at PSEG’s website that includes the location of current outages, the number of customers impacted and the estimated restoration time of each outage.
Governor Cuomo has declared a state of emergency across all 62 counties in New York State beginning 12 a.m. Tuesday. The governor directed all non-essential state employees to stay home from work Tuesday.
Check back at RiverheadLOCAL for updated forecasts, photos and storm coverage.