Long Island Blizzard Warning Issued, Heavy Snow & Flooding Possible

Long Island blizzard
Satellite image of Nor’easter churning toward Long Island. (Photo credit: NASA/NOAA)

Long Island has been placed under a blizzard warning as a powerful mid-Atlantic Nor’easter churns toward the region this weekend.

The blizzard warning will go into effect early Saturday morning and last until noon Sunday, according to the National Weather Service’s Upton office. Blowing snow could start after 3 p.m. Saturday and continue through the evening.

It’s not only periods of heavy snowfall that Long Islanders will have to contend with. Sustained winds of 35 mph combined with gusts of 55 mph could spawn whiteout conditions that will make traveling extremely dangerous. As a result of drifting snow, forecasters said, visibility may be reduced to ¼ of a mile—or, in some cases, “near zero” visibility.

Snow accumulation predictions currently range from 7 to 12 inches, forecasters said.

Parts of the Island will also be under a coastal flood warning. A combination of powerful wind gusts and a full moon could mean tides 3 to 4 feet above normal, forecasters said.

The South Shore could see the most flooding, the weather service said.

“Elevated water levels and large breaking waves on the shore of Long Island may result in erosion of dunes,” the weather service said on its website.

The massive storm could impact as many as 15 states. Washington D.C. is preparing for more than two feet of snow, prompting officials there to shut down its entire mass transit system.

Foreboding weather predictions appeared to have some local residents preparing for the worst, with residents filling up gas cans to fuel generators in the event of power outages.

The biggest threat to power lines is icing brought on by the blistering cold and heavy snow expected to blanket the region, PSEG Long Island said.

During the week, the utility has conducted logistics and system checks ahead of the storm.

Local officials urged residents to use caution over the weekend. They implored people to stay off the roads and only get behind the wheel if travel is absolutely necessary.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said there’s more than 100 pieces of snow-fighting equipment and 28,000 tons of salt available to treat roads.

“Nassau County is monitoring the storm track and prepared to begin bringing main county roadways, bridges and overpasses to prevent black ice from forming,” Mangano said.

Suffolk County Deputy Commissioner Tim Sini said the department has equipment and people in place throughout the county to ensure road safety.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is prepared to assist local municipalities impacted by the storm.

The Island is also in store for frigid temperatures near freezing this weekend.