Update: Winter storm warning in effect as blizzard conditions could bring 11-15 inches of snow, strong wind

Update (Friday, 8:30 a.m.): The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning beginning 7 p.m. Friday as heavy snow is expected to hit the area through Saturday.

The NWS says the North Fork could expect between 11-15 inches of snow as the chances of the storm moving east and sparing the area heavy snow have now faded. The NWS said Friday morning it is reevaluating data for a possible blizzard warning, as well.

Wind gusts as high as 50 mph are expected with near blizzard conditions possible during a period of the day Saturday. The peak winds are expected Saturday morning into early Saturday evening. Power outages could be possible.

PSEG Long Island says more than 900 line workers, tree trimmers, surveyors and other utility personnel will be prepared for restoration on Saturday.

“However the storm tracks, our crews will safely restore any outages as quickly as these wintry conditions allow,” said Michael Sullivan, vice president of transmission and distribution at PSEG Long Island.

The snow will taper off Saturday evening.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the lower 20s tonight and expected to hold through Saturday until dipping to the teens late Saturday.

Areas to the west in Nassau County and New York City will see less snow than eastern Long Island.

Minor to locally moderate coastal flooding is also possible, particularly during times of high tide on Saturday.

The Village of Greenport plans to issue an emergency order Friday evening, so cars must be off the road.

Update (6:30 p.m.): The expected snow totals from a storm that will hit the area starting Friday evening increased, and the North Fork could see between 10 and 14 inches, according to the latest briefing from the National Weather Service.

The winter storm watch remains in effect and it warns of gusts as high as 55 mph.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible, with blizzard conditions possible,” the latest update says.

Snow is expected to develop Friday evening with periods of heavy snow late Friday night into Saturday and snow tapering off Saturday evening. Snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour are expected. The strongest winds are expected Saturday morning into the evening.

Original Story: A winter storm could bring potentially heavy snow to the area Friday night into Saturday, although there remains significant uncertainty as to the amount of snow based on how the storm tracks in the next 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

The NWS issued a winter storm watch from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 p.m. Saturday, which warns of a potential of 6-12 inches and wind gusts as high as 45 mph.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty,” said Tiffany Fortier, a meteorologist with the NWS in Upton. She said the snow totals in the winter storm watch are leaning toward the conservative side as of Thursday morning in case the low pressure system stays more to the east.

She said the uncertainty is based on different models showing conflicting paths for the storm. Some are showing the storm tracking west, while others are tracking farther east.

“If it shoots east early, we really won’t get that much snow and out winter impacts will be lessened,” she said. “If it does tend to hug along the coast, as long as it doesn’t go too close, then impacts can be pretty significant, especially with wind, heavy snow and coastal flooding.”

She said it’s a “complex situation.” The NWS could have more clarity later tonight, or possibly as late as Friday morning. The scenario that would lead to the highest snowfall totals would mean potentially 20 inches of snow, a scenario with only about 10% probability as of Thursday morning, according to the NWS.

The winter storm watch says travel could be difficult and gusty winds could bring down tree branches. A gale watch is also in effect for Friday night through Saturday night. Coastal flooding would be most likely during Saturday morning and night high tides as well as the Sunday morning high tide.

Snowfall rates could be 1-2 inches per hour on the East End, according to the NWS.