Snowier Than Normal Winter May Hit Long Island

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

Dust off the ice scraper, snow shovel, and heavy boots, because Long Island is likely to see more snow than usual this winter, forecasters say.

There is a 33 percent chance that the western half of LI will see above normal precipitation between January and March, according to a three-month outlook published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. But that precipitation may not all be snow.

“We’re in a very weak El Niño pattern, so you typically would have a little more active Southern jet stream with that, so that’s why they’re keying in on above-normal precipitation,” said Adrienne Leptich, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Upton office.

NOAA projections indicate the temperatures have an equal chance of being above or below normal for the same three-month period. The average normal temperature for that time frame is 33 degrees, Leptich said. Last winter, LI saw 55.2 inches of snow, data shows.

Of course, as the surprise snow storm in November proved, forecasting the weather can be tricky. Experts say the best thing to do is prepare for the worst before the forecast calls for a winter storm. That means drivers should make sure the tires on their vehicles are fully inflated, fluids are topped off, and keep a shovel and blanket in the trunk, just in case.

“You never know,” said Steven Prigal, president of All Roads Fleets Service and Supply, a snow plow parts supplier. “You could get, through no fault of your own, left on the road for a period of time and you need to take care of yourself.”

Prigal, who doesn’t take much stock in the forecast, quotes a snow plow salesman on what to expect.

“If last year was a busy year, this year is just gonna be like last year,” he said. “And if last year was quite, then we’re due.”

“Strange things happen,” he added. “Be prepared.”