More than a foot of snow is forecast for parts of the East End with four to six inches for western Long Island, meteorologists warned Saturday as a winter storm hit the area.
The highest accumulations are likely to be on the South Fork, although the storm is forecast to bring heavy snow, 30-mph gusts and temperatures in the 20s to all of LI, the National Weather Service said in a winter storm warning issued for Nassau and Suffolk counties through midnight. The conditions are expected to make for slippery roadways and reduce visibility to a quarter mile, making for hazardous travel conditions.
“The best practice right now is to stay off the roads,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini told reporters Saturday during a news conference. Noting that there were already 20 vehicle crashes at the start of the storm around 11 a.m., he said those he must drive should reduce their speed and leave enough room between vehicles to stop.
The storm is impacting much of the East Coast. Parts of New York City and the tri-state area are also under a winter storm warning. The storm is the first major snowstorm of winter and of 2017, although it fell short of more serious blizzard conditions.
The heaviest part of the snow is expected during the early afternoon before it tapers off this evening. NWS officials noted that anyone who must drive should bring food, water and a flashlight in case of emergency.
Nassau and Suffolk county officials as well as smaller local municipalities said they are deploying hundreds of snow plows to clear and salt roadways island-wide. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said if there is any silver lining, it’s that the storm hit on a weekend when most people are off from work and can stay home.
“It is fortunate that the storm is occurring on a Saturday,” Bellone said, encouraging residents to make it a family day. “It’s always easier when the roads are clear.”