Cuomo Declares State of Emergency on Long Island

Snow plows clear Union Boulevard in Islip on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.
Snow plows clear Union Boulevard in Islip on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Nassau and Suffolk counties late Tuesday as a strong coastal storm threatened to pound Long Island with even more snow.

Cuomo’s declaration came about two hours before forecasters predicted the storm to hit a second and more intense phase starting at 7 p.m. and continuing until 4 a.m. Wednesday.

“This winter storm will bring a one-two punch of snow and extreme cold. I urge all those in the affected regions to exercise caution, and avoid travel if possible,” Cuomo said. “State resources are deployed to clear snow and help those impacted by the storm, but above all it is important that New Yorkers remain safe both during and after the storm.”

The National Weather Service had called for 10 to 14 inches of snow, but lowered its projections slightly to 8 to 12 inches in an updated statement at 4 p.m.

The weather service published unofficial snowfall amounts just before 5 p.m. which showed many areas already measuring more than 4 inches of snow. Lindenhurst recorded the highest total with 6.3 inches, according to the agency.

In response to the storm, Cuomo also activated the state’s emergency operations center so officials could monitor the storm’s progression as it rolled across LI. He also declared a state of emergency for seven other counties: Richmond, Queens, New York, Kings, Bronx, Westchester and Rockland.

The state made available 239 plows, 27 front loaders and 428 operators to assist with snow removal efforts on the Island, and notified private contractors to be on alert in the event that additional resources are needed.

Cuomo noted that the Long Island Rail Road, which was already experiencing system-wide delays due to the storm, will cancel trains Tuesday evening.

The governor did not announce any major road closures.

The “extreme cold” Cuomo mentioned is a product of an arctic air mass that with the combination of strong wind could send temperatures plunging to 10 degrees below zero during the evening, forecasters said.

A winter storm warning remains in effect on LI until 6 a.m.