Gale force winds and full moon tides washed out Gerard Drive in East Hampton and Dune Road in Hampton Bays during Tuesday afternoon's high tide as the strong winds associated with the day's severe noreaster proved to be the lone impact locally.
Scattered downed trees and utility poles that fell across roadways and washouts of scattered low-lying roadways ended up as the only speed bumps to normal activity on Tuesday, despite widespread closures of schools and municipal buildings on Tuesday as the storm approached and forecasters warned that up to two feet of snow could be expected. The forecasts proved to be accurate for large swaths of western New York and Pennsylvania but other than a brief period of sleet early Tuesday, the South Fork saw only rainfall, torrential at times.
East Hampton Main Street was closed for over an hour in the afternoon after one of the village's prized English elm trees went down across Main Street amid gusts that topped 58 miles per hour in Montauk about noon on Tuesday.
Gerard Drive was overwashed by waters from Gardiners Bay in its lowest lying stretch, cutting off residents of its eastern reaches. The washout was even worse than during a similarly severe noreaster last winter. When the tide receded on Tuesday it left a thick layer of sand and rocks where pavement had once been and evidence that the roadway itself had crumbled in the waves.
UPDATE: Tuesday, 10:40 a.m.
The State of Emergency for Southampton Town has been lifted as of 10 a.m. on Tuesday as the storm continues to move further west.
Southampton Town Hall will once again reopen on Wednesday morning.
The Winter Storm Warning for southeastern Suffolk County has been canceled by the National Weather Service in Upton. Coastal flood advisories and wind advisories, however, remain in effect for the rest of the day Tuesday.
As of Tuesday morning, the snow in the area has already turned from sleet to rain, though more sleet and between 2 to 3 inches of snow is possible later this evening and tonight, according to representatives from the NWS. The wind advisory says there could be wind gusts up to 50 mph this afternoon, potentially causing downed power lines and trees and hazardous conditions.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman has declared a state of emergency for Tuesday and has closed all town facilities. East Hampton Town facilities will also be closed and a Town Board work session scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled.
Supervisor Schneiderman's office cited high winds, coastal flooding, and heavy snow in the announcement and asked that all residents stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary during the brunt of the storm.
At the same time, Southampton Village, East Hampton Village, and Westhampton Beach Village have all announced that their municipal buildings will be closed Tuesday.
A National Weather Service Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the area on Tuesday, with between 8 to 12 inches of snow predicted. The snow will likely turn to rain early to mid-afternoon.
National Weather Service officials are also predicting coastal flooding throughout the day on Tuesday.
A Coastal Flood Advisory was issued early Monday morning and will remain in effect from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The minor to moderate flooding is expected along all eastern bays and along the coastline, according to the NWS, with tides expected to be between 2.5 to 3.5 feet above normal levels, and water expected to rise one to two feet on some streets.
At the same time, the high surf is expected to range from 6 to 10 feet.
The Blizzard warning has been downgraded to a Winter Storm Warning for southeastern Suffolk County, with officials now predicting between 8 to 14 inches of snow for Southampton and East Hampton towns.
According to a National Weather Service update at 4:18 a.m. on Monday, the storm watch will remain in effect from midnight tonight through midnight Tuesday night. Heavy snow and strong winds are still expected for the area.
While there is no longer a blizzard warning in effect, blizzard like conditions can still occur, with winds to average between 30 to 40 mph and gusts as high as 60 mph. The snow is also expected to change over to sleet and rain late Tuesday morning, leading to icy conditions. Visibility will be a quarter mile or less.
The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Watch, warning that between 12 and 18 inches of snow could fall between Monday night and Tuesday night.
Issued at 3:38 p.m. Saturday for all of Long Island, New York City and southern Connecticut, the watch also states that 20- to 30-mph winds from the northeast, with gusts of up to 50 mph, can be expected. It also warns that the storm could make travel hazardous and result in possible power outages.
The snow is expected to begin around 11 p.m. Monday and end late Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Additionally, at 3:24 p.m. Saturday, the service issue a Gale Warning for the waters between Moriches Inlet and Montauk Point that will remain in effect until 1 a.m. Sunday. It notes that 20- to 30-knot winds, with gusts of up to 50 knots, are expected during that time, and that seas could run between 5 and 8 feet. The rough conditions are expected to continue through Sunday.
“It is highly recommended that mariners without the proper experience seek safe harbor prior to the onset of gale conditions,” the warning reads.