The South Fork is digging out from a blizzard that dumped an average of 12 inches of snow across the area Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
The storm accounted for between 10 and 12 inches of snow accumulation across most of the South Fork and winds as high as 40 mph. Snow accumulation was higher in certain areas as narrow bands of heavier snow swept across the region. The easternmost reaches of the area, east of Amagansett, saw significantly lower totals, as rain and sleet mixed in with the snow. Montauk saw about 5 inches of snow accumulation.
The Long Island Power Authority reported that approximately 300 households on the South Fork were without power as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, primarily in Hampton Bays and western portions of Southampton Town. East Hampton Town saw just a handful of outages. The company expected to have all the outages in Southampton Town restored by late morning on Wednesday and the East Hampton Town outages by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.
The heaviest snowfalls were seen in central Suffolk County, where accumulation totals reached close to 18 inches, and in southeastern Connecticut, which saw more than 20 inches. Snow had stopped falling in Manhattan and most of Nassau County by sunrise Wednesday, meteorologist Lauren Nash of the National Weather Service said.
Bridgehampton resident Richard Hendrickson, an official weather observer for the National Weather Service for more than 50 years, measured 9 inches of snow at his Bridgehampton house Wednesday morning.
“It’s a nice, average January winter storm, and as storms go in January, I think we’re very fortunate,” he said. “We could have 50 to 60 mile per hour winds and snow drifts so high the highway department can’t get through—and we don’t. It’s not bad for our area on Eastern Long Island. The kids ought to have a field day.”
As predicted, snow started falling locally at about 10 p.m. on Tuesday, with the heaviest precipitation seen in the overnight hours.
The source of the snow is a storm moving up the East Coast, which dumped as much as 8 inches of snow across the South Monday, and intensified during the day Tuesday as it converged with a second storm, bringing colder air in from the Midwest.
The supervisors and mayors of every East End municipality asked residents to stay off of local roads unless absolutely necessary, for safety reasons and to allow snow removal crews to clear roads. All schools and most municipal buildings are closed for the day. Check the 27east.com homepage for up-to-the-minute information on closings.
A coastal flooding advisory was issued for the Peconics, Gardiners Bay and Block Island Sound shorelines. Winds were not as strong as during the December 26 blizzard that caused severe erosion in Montauk and parts of Amagansett.
Local officials began urging residents to prepare for the storm on Tuesday morning and early afternoon by picking up supplies, medicines and food, and to fuel vehicles.
Southampton Hospital sent out an advisory on Tuesday asking that residents ensure any signs displaying their house number were cleared of snow and visible in case emergency vehicles needed to locate a house during the blizzard.
The Hampton Jitney cancelled some of its buses between the East End and New York City early Wednesday morning but westbound service resumed by midmorning on Wednesday and eastbound service by late morning. Updated schedules are available at the website hamptonjitney.com.
Lieutenant Robert P. Iberger of the Southampton Town Police, the town’s emergency preparedness coordinator, said residents should avoid traveling on the roads during the storm, since it will affect highway crews’ ability to clear roadways.
Lt. Iberger also suggested that town residents should have the following on hand: a battery-powered radio, battery-powered lights, a manual can opener, and enough supplies to last through a power outage. While the town has a program for checking on senior citizens, he also urged residents to check in with elderly family members and neighbors who might be alone during the storm.