A “significant” winter storm is expected to dump between 12 and 20 inches of snow across Long Island, with the most snow expected on the North Fork and East End Friday into Saturday, according to forecasts by the National Weather Service, which issued a blizzard warning starting Friday.
Even higher amounts can accumulate on eastern Long Island due to isolated snow bands, weather officials said.
A mix of rain and occasional flurries had already begun to fall Friday morning, with about 2 to 4 inches of snow expected to accumulate during the daytime hours, according to NWS forecasts.
[Check back starting this afternoon for live coverage of the storm as it approaches the region].
But things are going to start picking up into the evening and worsen as the night goes on, when the blizzard will hit with heavy bands of snow and sustained winds between 30 and 40 mph — with gusts topping 60 mph — that will make travel dangerous and may cause power outages, officials said.
“This is a classic nor’easter,” said meteorologist David Stark, with the weather service station in Upton. “All the ingredients that come together for nor’easter are there.”
The storm could cause electrical outages for over 100,000 customers on Long Island, according to a statement by National Grid.
Meanwhile, locals were flocking to area supermarkets and gas stations to stock up on fuel and supplies Friday morning.
” I think people are overreacting about the gas situation,” said Jim McGreevy, as he waited behind a few cars lined up at the Hess station on Main Road in Mattituck. “We’re just putting some gas in the truck. We have gas at home for the generator, snowblower.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as Sandy was.
“I think it’s ridiculous that people are panicking,” added his wife, Jennifer McGreevy. “It’s probably because of the snowblowers and stuff, but even the grocery store was nuts yesterday. It was like a madhouse. It was worse than before Thanksgiving.”
Officials are warning residents to stay indoors as the full force of the storm hits.
“The winds are going to be howling Friday night,” Mr. Stark said. “I wouldn’t recommend being on the road.”
The snow will continue through the night into Saturday morning, officials said.
The east-northeastern winds may also cause beach erosion on the North Fork because of Friday night’s high tide, he added.
Weather officials have issued a flood warning for coastal areas as well.
Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco issued a statement Friday cautioning residents to have a plan in place to stay warm and safe. If you lose heat in your home, he said, close off any unneeded rooms and plan to stay in one area.
“To retain heat as long as possible, place blankets or towels under doors and cover up all windows where heat could easily escape,” he said.
The sheriff also recommended leaving faucets slightly turned on if there is a danger of water pipes freezing.
By Saturday afternoon, the storm will have moved out of the area and the high winds will die down over the weekend as temperatures rise above freezing, Mr. Stark said.
Residents are advised to avoid traveling during the storm due to the predicted hazardous conditions.
With Gianna Volpe, Michael White and Joe Werkmeister