Four-to-8 inches of snow forecast to blanket Long Island on Thursday is expected to disrupt school, business and travel, possibly causing power outrages the day before Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend.
The National Weather Service upgraded a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning from midnight Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. The agency also issued a high surf advisory from 1 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Friday and warned of coastal flooding between 5 p.m. Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday.
“Snow will develop late tonight…and will mix with sleet and rain Thursday morning,” meteorologists in the agency’s Upton office said in a statement. “A complete changeover to rain is likely during the day…before changing back to snow Thursday night.”
The changeover is forecast to come when subfreezing temperatures overnight warm up to the high 30s during the day. The snow will resume when the temps drop back into the 20s overnight.
Northeast winds of 20-to-30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph are expected to reduce visibility to as low as ¼ mile during the worst of the storm, which combined with slippery roadways will make for treacherous driving conditions.
Accumulation is likely to be lighter on the South Fork, but the heavy, wet snow is expected to collapse roofs and down tree branches, in turn causing power outages.
Six-to-10-foot Atlantic Ocean waves are expected to cause minor barrier beach erosion and flooding in bay-front communities on the south and north shores since the full moon Friday, traditionally called the snow moon, will cause tides astronomically two-feet higher than usual.
Once the storm breaks, the forecast for Valentine’s Day on Friday is partly sunny with temps in the 30s and a slight change of snow overnight into Saturday. Mostly sunny skies return Sunday into President’s Day on Monday.
The Long Island Rail Road run special train cars modified to put antifreeze on third rails to keep them clear of ice. The LIRR also called in hundreds of extra personnel who will keep platforms at their nearly 250 stations clear of snow.
PSEG Long Island officials said that snow usually isn’t an issue for utilities, but the possibility of sleet, ice and strong wind gusts can increase the likelihood of downed wires.