Long Island Hit Hard by First Blizzard of 2015

Long Island Blizzard
Snowfall totals on Long Island. (Photo credit: National Weather Service)

A blizzard forecasted to cripple the region with upwards of three feet of snow wasn’t as intense as predicted, but Long Island took the brunt of the storm with as much as 24 inches falling on the East End.

With the downstate region mostly spared, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted a travel ban on southern New York roadways at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Long Island Rail Road and other MTA service will slowly come back in line and will be running on a Sunday schedule by noon Tuesday.

“The story on Long Island is very different than what you’re seeing here,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday at a news conference in Manhattan, which got less snow than expected.

Despite his decision to reopen the roadways, Cuomo urged drivers to stay home. The roads are passable, he said, “but not clear.”

“If you don’t have to travel today you really don’t want to traveling,” Cuomo said.

During his news conference, Cuomo singled out Suffolk County, which he said was the hardest-hit area in the state and continues to experience blizzard-like conditions.

The state has redeployed equipment from New York City and the Hudson Valley to help with snow removal efforts in Suffolk.

“The roads are significantly more affected in Suffolk than anywhere else in the downstate area,” Cuomo said. He noted that LIRR service will come in line slower in Suffolk.


Snow is expected to taper off in the mid-to-late afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Several additional inches could accumulate during that time.

A winter storm warning is in effect until midnight for Nassau and Suffolk counties. A blizzard warning was cancelled before daybreak.

Nassau County was hit with 12 to 18 inches of snow, while some parts of Suffolk saw more than 20 inches. As of Tuesday morning, Mattituck recorded the most snowfall, with 24.8 inches reported.

Long Island took the brunt of the storm after it shifted 50 to 75 miles east overnight, said David Stark, a meteorologist at the NWS’ office in Upton.

“That makes a very big difference,” Stark said.

In the days prior to the storm, Long Islanders seemed to be bracing for potential outages, buying propane and filling up oil tanks to power generators. But as of 9 a.m., PSEG Long Island was reporting minimal outages, with only 150 ratepayers without power.

Area airports have been reopened but there have been mass cancelations. Flights will resume at Long Island MacArthur Airport Wednesday.