Another storm? S’no problem

TIM KELLY PHOTO | A crew clears away the three that came down in the storm on the Main Road in Mattituck early Wednesday morning, closing the road and snagging power lines, which caused localized power outages. The road was passable by mid morning.

The storm that raced up the coast and dumped more than a foot of snow across Southold from Tuesday night into Wednesday caused power outages for over 260 households, more than any other town on Long Island, but apparently did not add to the Sound shore damage left in the wake of the December blizzard.

A downed tree near North Fork Deli in Mattituck briefly closed westbound Route 25 Wednesday morning, Southold police said.

Schools, libraries and municipal offices were all closed Wednesday. Local roads were passable, but it was slow going.

“The timing was great for the public, but not for my overtime budget,” said Supervisor Scott Russell. Because most of the snow fell overnight, many decided against driving to work Wednesday morning. But with the cleanup beginning in the wee hours, which means paying overtime, the town is facing higher snow removal costs, the supervisor said.

Still, he deemed this storm not nearly as bad as the one in December that severely damaged several homes along Hashamomuck Cove on the Sound in Southold and tore apart the nearby Town Beach parking field. At 15 to 20 mph, the winds were far less destructive than the December storm.

A large tree toppled over on Main Road in Mattituck early Wednesday, blocking the road and taking down power lines. By mid-morning the road was passable. A fallen tree similarly blocked part of Soundview Avenue in Southold

“Our biggest concern is with the wet snow and the way it’s sitting on branches and wires,” said Police Captain Martin Flatley. “There’s a lot of stuff sagging and that could add to the power outages.”

Southold Police Chief Ty Cochran said he’s concerned that once the snow stops people might head back out on the icy roads. Despite the town’s plowing and sanding, roads will remain hazardous, he said.

Greenport Mayor David Nyce said the village highway crew launched its cleanup efforts about 3 a.m. Wednesday and by late morning Wednesday those roads were clear. With sewer meter-reading crews at work clearing crosswalks, the village highway department then focused on digging out public parking areas, the mayor said.

“We got about 18 inches here in Greenport and my house is outside the village and the road wasn’t cleared until late,” said Mr. Nyce. “And then it took until after 1:30 to get the driveway dug out. A pretty sight, but not a pretty sight, if you know what I mean.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy declared a snow emergency at 5 a.m. Wednesday, giving the county the ability to close roads if necessary for the sake of public safety. The county also closed its health centers and suspended bus service. The Long Island Rail Road suspended service on the Greenport line east of Ronkonkoma.

Shelley Scoggin, who operates The Market in Greenport, said it was indeed slow going as she drove to work from her Cutchogue home. Once she arrived, “it was business as usual,” she said.

Bob Ghosio, general manager of the Southold-based Burt’s Reliable heating fuel company, said his office received about 200 calls for oil refills in the two days preceding the storm, though the phones were quiet Wednesday.

Many businesses across the town and in the village, particularly delis and restaurants, were open on Wednesday.

The precipitation switched from snow to sleet and rain and back to snow early Wednesday, which limited snow totals.

“I could hear rain and sleet beating on my window,” said Captain Flatley.

Many heard claps of thunder and saw flashes of lightning before temperatures dropped and the rain turned back to snow.
Gerard Orientale of Sound Side landscape construction if one of them.

“I was plowing in Greenport at about 3 a.m. when it flashed, like a light going on,” he said. “It startled me.”

Vera Chinese and Julie Lane contributed to this story