First Winter Storm of 2016 May Cause Blizzard-like Conditions, Forecasters Say

Snow plows on Sunrise Highway in East Islip in 2016. Long Island Press photo

The first major winter storm of 2016 remains likely to hit Long Island this weekend with forecasters warning snow and winds may create blizzard-like conditions with less than ¼ mile of visibility.

There is a moderate potential for more than six inches of snow and a low potential for more than a foot of the white stuff when the storm arrives Friday night, possibly lingering as late as Sunday, according to meteorologists at the Upton office of the National Weather Service (NWS).

“This storm could produce heavy snow…strong winds…and moderate coastal flooding,” the agency said in a hazardous weather outlook statement. But, as little as two-to-four inches is also possible in parts of LI, forecasters said.

The same storm is also expected to impact states from Tennessee to Maine, although some areas may see more of a wintry mix depending upon the track of the system. It is expected to strengthen rapidly as it reaches the East Coast, NWS said. The Weather Channel dubbed the storm Jonas.

Sustained winds of up to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph are expected in the New York Metro area. The storm may also cause moderate coastal flooding during high tide. In addition, there is potential for significant beach erosion and washovers at Atlantic Ocean beaches, NWS warned.

The latest forecast suggest that the East End may see less snow than western LI and New York City, but Suffolk County police aren’t taking any chances. The department is pre-positioning military surplus Humvees at each of the seven precinct station houses to respond to emergency calls and to aid stranded motorists, police said.

During the calm before the storm, skies are expected to remain sunny with temperatures in the 30s during the day dropping into the teens after sundown. NWS forecasters currently give the storm a 60-percent chance of hitting Friday night and 70-percent odds of lasting all day and night Saturday. As of this post, there was a 30-percent chance that it will still be snowing Sunday.