A Nor’easter snowstorm, dubbed Winter Storm Lorraine, brought heavy snow to the North Fork on Tuesday.
The storm, which at one point was forecasted to dump up to a foot of snow in the area, accumulated a total of three to four inches , according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Dominic Ramunni.
“It’s the largest snowfall in two years to the day,” Mr. Ramunni said. “That’s the last time we saw more than three inches.”
The National Weather Service had announced a winter storm watch for portions of southeast New York and northeast New Jersey from late Monday night through 6 p.m. Tuesday evening.
The Riverhead highway department crew of 36 went to work at 5 a.m. Tuesday salting and sanding roads across town, according to the Town Highway Superintendent Mike Zaleski.
Southold Highway Superintendent Dan Goodwin said the highway department’s crew of more than 30 workers were well prepared for what the storm could bring.
“We were prepared yesterday, we had plows hooked up and all the sand trucks and everything were checked over and we were basically just waiting for the snow to start,” he said.
He said the crew set out at 7 a.m and “hit the ground running.”
“With this being a wet snow and the temperatures being a little bit on the warmer end, we were a little bit less concerned about the snow and ice building up on the roads because the road surface temperatures were higher than what we would typically expect when we’re getting snow.”
There are 24 designated plow routes across Southold Town headed by three road-crew foremen. There are also three employees dispatched on Fishers Island, Mr. Goodwin said.
Mr. Goodwin gave some important advice to residents.
“The biggest thing with any type of storm system like this, if people see that snow stops around three o’clock or so we still need time to do our jobs, our safety and your safety really do depend on it,” he said. “It’s truly something that people need to take to heart, and they need to understand that the less people that are out on the roads the better we’re able to do our jobs. So just sit back and enjoy and wait to see the plow truck out there and give them a wave and say hello and let him do his job.”
In a Monday interview, Joe Pollina, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, described what the North Fork should expect in anticipation of the storm.
“It’s going to start off as all rain and then transition to all snow sometime after 7 am it looks like for eastern Long Island,” he said. “The snow will continue through the morning and then to the early afternoon tapering off by the mid to late afternoon timeframe and then by the time tomorrow night rolls around precipitation will be pretty much all done.”
He said as of Monday afternoon, the twin forks area could get anywhere from four to eight inches of accumulation.
“There’s the possibility that we could see a little bit more, depending on exactly where this low-pressure system that’s bringing all this precipitation, where exactly that tracks,” he said. “If it tracks further south, [that] would bring in colder air, more [precipitation,] so we would see higher amounts [of snow] if that were to occur. If it tracks closer to the coasts that would bring in warmer air and lessen [precipitation.]”
Northeast winds will be 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph possible, he added. The storm ended up tracking off to the east which accounts for less precipitation.
Experts recommended residents stay home if possible and allowing for extra time during the morning and evening commutes.
Southold Town Supervisor Al Krupski in a phone interview Monday afternoon recommended for residents to “be prepared to stay at home and not go out on the roads.”
“If it’s heavy wet snow, you might have a fallen tree limb or tree,” he said. “You want to let the highway crews, whether they’re the Town, County or State be able to clear the roads as quickly and easily as possible and the more traffic that’s on the roads makes their jobs way more difficult.”
Mr. Krupski said he started conversations with the emergency management team, including Town Police Chief Martin Flatley and Town Highway Superintendent Dan Goodwin “first thing [Monday] morning.”
“We’re at a disadvantage because we’re dealing with mother nature,” he said. “We’re going to try to do the best we can and react accordingly and as the forecast changes…we’re changing our approach to how to best manage it.”
Riverhead Town Supervisor Timothy C. Hubbard issued a Proclamation of a Winter Storm Event effective midnight tonight “for a period not to exceed 24 hours,” according to the proclamation.
“No parking is permitted on either side of any roadway during this winter storm emergency declaration,” it states.
It also states that “all Town of Riverhead Departments take whatever steps are necessary to protect life and property, and public infrastructure and to perform other such emergency assistance as deemed necessary.”
Riverhead Town Hall closed for the day and were scheduled to reopen Wednesday Feb. 14. Southold Town Hall remained open.
As of late Monday afternoon, area schools are starting to announce closures including Shoreham-Wading River, Riverhead, Mattituck-Cutchogue, Southold and Greenport. For more information visit the following websites.
Shoreham-Wading River Central School District – http://www.swrschools.org/
Riverhead Central School District- https://www.riverhead.net/
Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District- https://www.mufsd.com/
New Suffolk Common School – https://www.newsuffolkschool.com/
Southold Union Free School District – https://www.southoldufsd.com/
Greenport Union Free School District- https://www.gufsd.org/
Oysterponds Union Free School District- https://www.oysterponds.org/