01/03/14 7:16am
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO

While the Long Island Expressway remains closed until 8 a.m., Highway Superintendent Vinny Orlando said Friday morning that all roads in town have at least been passed through by early this morning, though high winds are making the snowfall tough to keep up with.

Mr. Orlando estimated that about 8 inches have fallen in town, though the drifts make it hard to put an exact number on it.

“It’s snowing too hard. It’s blowing harder than it’s snowing, so when guys are out plowing, they’re fighting drifts on and off,” he said.

Crews have been out all night, he said, getting a start at 6:30 last night and clearing the roads through this morning.

According to the National Weather Service, six inches of snow had fallen by 4 a.m. at its station in Upton. And power provider PSEG — who took over for the Long Island Power Authority at the start of the new year — reported just a handful of outages (39 to be exact) as of 6:47 a.m.

While NWS had predicted that the East End could be in for close to a foot of snow, Mr. Orlando said the day after taking office that the area may have lucked out.

“Compared to what they said we were going to get, I think we fared OK,” he said. While Riverhead and Southampton both declared emergencies, Southold opted not to, simply alerting residents to “please take precautionary measures.”

However snow isn’t the only thing the NWS is alerting residents of.

According to the NWS, coastal flooding remains a threat as well, particularly on the north shore. A coastal flood advisory is in effect starting at 10 a.m., ending at 2 p.m.

01/02/14 2:54pm
01/02/2014 2:54 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando during his swearing in ceremony on Thursday.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando during his swearing in ceremony on Thursday.

Less than an hour after being sworn in, new Highway Department Superintendent Vincent Orlando was already in his first emergency preparedness meeting in his new capacity.

“Let’s hurry up,” he joked at the swearing in ceremony on Thursday morning. “I got work to do.”

With about 10 inches of snow forecast to fall on the North Fork Thursday night into Friday and a blizzard warning in effect, Mr. Orlando will face his first big test as head of the department, which sports two dozen plows and a dozen sanders.

Luckily for residents, however, the snowfall won’t be entirely new ground for Mr. Orlando, as former Highway Department Superintendent Pete Harris opened his door to Mr. Orlando in the final months of his tenure, allowing him to get a feel for how the department runs.

“It’s been a great transition. We’ve really been able to hit the ground running” Mr. Orlando said on Thursday. “With their help, it’s been really nice.”

While the National Weather Service website warns that anywhere from five to nine inches could come tonight, with another one two two inches tomorrow, NWS meteorologist Joe Pollina said that the East End is likely to fall on the higher end of the range.

“The twin forks, and Riverhead area, will likely be closer to the 10-inch range, with western Suffolk closer to eight inches,” he said. Mr. Pollina added that the bulk of snow should arrive after midnight, with minor accumulation after sunrise.

Mr. Orlando, a former town councilman, also pointed to the aid of deputy superintendent Curt Davids — who served under Mr. Harris and will remain in his post — as integral to helping him move into his current role. Mr. Orlando won the post in November, defeating Democrat Tobie Wesnofske with 55 percent of the vote.

“The last few storms we’ve had, I’ve been here for,” he said. “So it’s not so shocking today … we’ll prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.”

Mr. Orlando wasn’t the only one getting ready for snow on Thursday, however.

Waldbaums customer service clerk Pat Doucet said the Mattituck store seemed pretty busy, with plenty of people heading into pick up some necessities before the storm.

Mary Anne Coe of Mattituck said she was doing the grocery shopping, while her husband “took care of everything else.”

“I just bought some bread and milk, and he went to get gas for the snow blower and generator,” Ms. Coe said, adding that she hoped the North Fork was greeted with a lot of snow tomorrow morning.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A shopper fills up at Waldbaum's on Thursday afternoon.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A shopper fills up at Waldbaum’s on Thursday afternoon.

“My kids like to go out in the snow,” she said.

While loading her car, June Bassemir of Jamesport said “it’s really a different type of day for me. I am converting from oil to gas today, and will only have the wood burning stove to keep warm.”

That means wood was at the top of her list, of which she said she had just bought two bundles from the grocery store, along with a few other essentials.

“I just got the last whole milk that was in there,” Ms. Bassemir said, adding that she was going home to bake a fresh loaf of “almost” homemade bread, “its cheating a bit, the ingredients comes mixed in the box,” she said.

When asked how he was getting ready for the storm, Arthur Kretschmer of Mattituck said “I’m not. It’s not 1840 anymore,” he laughed.

Mr. Kretschmer was taking care of two boys, Noah and Christian, who were dressed for the weather in camouflage facemasks and brightly colored jackets.

When asked how they were preparing for the storm, the two said in unison “What storm?”

01/02/14 11:17am
JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Mattituck-Cutchogue school activities are cancelled through Saturday.

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Mattituck-Cutchogue school activities are cancelled through Saturday.

While the general student population is out on winter break, the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District announced this morning that in anticipation of a heavy snowfall expected today and Friday, all school-related practices and activities will be cancelled on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

According to district superintendent Jim McKenna, a basketball game scheduled for Friday evening will be tentatively rescheduled for Monday, while an away wrestling match scheduled for Saturday remains up in the air at the moment.

The district office is scheduled to remain open on Thursday until 3:30 p.m., and will be closed on Friday.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday, forecasting up to 10 inches of snow in total in the area into Friday. Three to seven inches are forecast through Thursday night, with another three expected on Friday.

Check back with the Suffolk Times throughout the storm for the latest information.

 

02/08/13 1:00pm
02/08/2013 1:00 PM
TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | A snow plow clears Route 25 in Cutchogue in January 2011.

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | A snow plow clears Route 25 in Cutchogue in January 2011.

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.”

NORTH FORK SCHOOL CLOSINGS, POSTPONEMENTS

The storm could cause electrical outages for over 100,000 customers on Long Island, according to a statement by National Grid.

EVENTS CANCELED DUE TO STORM

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.

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With Gianna Volpe, Michael White and Joe Werkmeister

02/08/13 12:02pm

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Orlowski Hardware on Love Lane in Mattituck Friday afternoon.

After Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the North Fork just over three months ago, area residents are not taking chances with the approaching winter storm, dubbed “Nemo” by The Weather Channel.

Workers at area hardware stores said business has been up as the slush began filling streets Friday afternoon.

Both Jamesport and Griffing Hardware in Riverhead Town reported increases in business, as did Orlowski Hardware on Mattituck’s Love Lane.

“Things have been pretty busy and business has definitely picked up a lot,” said owner Rich Orlowski. “People are buying ice melt, snow shovels, batteries, flashlights, all the basics. They are definitely getting ready.”

Sean Harlow of Talmage Farm Agway & Garden Center said the bulk of their business rush occurred yesterday, though he expects another rush could occur after the storm, depending on the actual amount of snow that falls.

He said snowblower sales could increase as snowfall totals are expected to exceed a foot in some areas.

“If we get as much snow as they’re saying we’re going to get, I’m sure we’ll sell snowblowers,” Mr. Harlow said. “I’m hoping we get a lot because I personally like the snow.”

The store has been busy selling shovels and ice melt, he said. Yesterday a customer bought one of the store’s 5,500-watt generators.

“We didn’t really start carrying them until the hurricane and people have been purchasing them since then,” he said. “But we had a few people inquiring about them today,” he said.

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