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Storm blankets East End with a foot of snow

Publication: The East Hampton Press
By Brendan O'Reilly   Mar 3, 2009 5:27 PM

A snowstorm blanketed the East End on Sunday night and Monday morning, dumping more than a foot of snow in some areas before resuming Monday afternoon. The storm reportedly dropped as much as 14 inches of snow east of the Shinnecock Canal with snowdrifts as high as 2 feet observed in some locations.

“I think it’s safe to say that much of the area picked up between 10 and 15 inches on average,” National Weather Service meteorologist John Cristantello said Tuesday. “The highest report that we did have was in Mastic. They had 15.7 inches.”

The weather station at MacArthur Airport in Islip also recorded a record-low temperature for March 2, 13 degrees, beating the 2003 record of 16 degrees, Mr. Cristantello added.

In Southampton Town, Supervisor Linda Kabot declared a snow emergency on Monday. The state of emergency puts town highway crews on high alert and empowers them to clear not only town roads, but private streets as well, to facilitate access for emergency personnel.

All East End school districts were closed, with some administrators announcing the closures on Sunday evening in anticipation of the arriving storm. Additionally, all town and village administrative offices on the South Fork were closed due to the inclement weather. And many private businesses opted to close early or not open at all.

Starbucks in Bridgehampton opened at 9 a.m., three and a half hours later than usual, and employees said they expected to close by 3 p.m. instead of the usual 9 p.m.

“I started calling at 7:30 a.m. to see if they were still opening, but no one was here,” said Starbucks barista Deborah Marshall. She spent two hours digging her car out of the snow at her home in Sag Harbor so she could make it in for her 10:30 a.m. shift, she said.

Employees of the East Hampton Waldbaum’s were able to open the grocery store on time at 7 a.m. By 1 p.m., the aisles were bustling and manager Joe McDonald said the store had already sold out of firewood and bags of salt.

Sheri DiStefano of Springs, the Waldbaum’s baker, said she volunteered to work Monday, even though it was her day off, because so many other employees didn’t make it in. “I’m the dedicated baker girl, and I wanted to get the bread out,” she quipped.

“The snow puts everything at a halt,” said Gary Mantaski, an employee at South Shore Docks in Quogue. It was a slow day at work, and he spent the majority of his time cleaning up and making sure that he would be ready for tomorrow, he said.

A few businesses saw a surge in sales on Monday, at least on some goods.

Jehan Kahn, the manager of the 7-Eleven in Westhampton Beach, said that his shop sold an unusual amount of hot chocolates and coffee on Monday. Ed Bumbly, the manager of Village Hardware in East Hampton, said his store sold at least 100 snow shovels between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday. And at Emporium Hardware in Sag Harbor Village, snow shovels were “flying out the door,” according to manager Mike D’Angelo.

“We had a well-stocked inventory, and it’s pretty much all gone,” he said. By noon, Mr. D’Angelo said the store had sold 40 shovels, with most of the customers saying they were replacing ones they had lost or broken.

Mr. D’Angelo said he expected the same customers to come back that afternoon for bags of salt to melt the snow and ice.

“We have a lot of ice melt on hand ... ” he said. “I’m sure by tomorrow, it’s probably all gone.”

Emporium Hardware gets its salt from a supplier in Pennsylvania, and Mr. D’Angelo said it will take a week for a new delivery to arrive once the current stock sells out. “There was a salt shortage this year throughout the Northeast,” he said, explaining that there has been so much snow this winter that suppliers struggled to keep up with the demand.

But even with a run on shovels and salt, Mr. D’Angelo said that, because of the snowstorm, business was slow compared to the average Monday.

The same could be said at Village Launderette, one of few businesses in Southampton Village that was open on Monday. Assistant manager Nancy Miller said it took her 90 minutes to walk to work in order to open the laundromat by 6:15 a.m.—a walk that usually takes her an hour. The laundromat is open on holidays and in the worst of weather conditions, Ms. Miller said.

“We had a hurricane one year,” she recalled. “I was here.”

Though business offices were closed in Southampton Village, Public Works employees were still hard at work on Monday.

Maintenance mechanic Alan Czelatka, who was shoveling snow in front of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce on Main Street, said he and fellow Building Maintenance Department employees were called in to work at 1 a.m. and Highway Department workers were at it even earlier than that.

An 18-hour workday is typical when a storm blows through, he said.

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Supervisor Kabot said private road would be plowed. Today is Tuesday, Jan 3rd. It is 7 a.m. Randall Lane is a private road located one block east of the Post Office in East Quogue. Help, I cannot find my cat and I would like to get out to buy a Mega Lotto Ticket. for tonights drawing. I can remember a really bad snowstorm in the 1960 when my next door neighbor had a heart attack . The ambulance got stuck. several time. We all got out and shoveled and pushed. Needless to say much ...more
By Carol (106), East Quogue on Mar 3, 09 7:14 AM
you need to buy a lottery ticket? lol
By C Law (285), Water Mill on Mar 3, 09 8:30 AM
I telephoned the Southampton Town Highway Dept. Within an hour Randall Lane was plowed . Many thanks. The feral cat is safe. The March 3-5 snowstorm in 1960 I wrote about brought 17.3". to the local area according to Newsday.
Appreciate the lottery ticket wish for lots of luck. "If your not in it you can't win it. "
Carol Combes (East Quogue).
By Carol (106), East Quogue on Mar 3, 09 11:42 AM
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