The Sag Harbor School District announced it will remain closed Friday in the aftermath of a blizzard that dumped between eight and 12 inches of snow across the East End Thursday, with two cold fronts expected to bring frigid weather to Long Island Friday and Saturday.
“Sag Harbor Schools will be closed tomorrow due to continued high winds causing dangerous travel conditions,” said Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Katy Graves.
This follows the announcement that Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency as a result of the storm, and has joined Suffolk County, East Hampton and Southampton Town officials in urging residents to stay indoors and avoid traversing roadways unless it is completely necessary.
According to the National Weather Service, wind gusts could reach 60 miles per hour Thursday afternoon, with temperatures expected to plummet to a low of around 11 degrees, and wind chill values expected to drop to between 10 and 5 degrees below zero.
Better weather is not expected for Friday. The NWS reports that temperatures on the East End will only reach as high as 14 degrees, with wind chill values between 10 and 5 degrees below zero with wind gusts as high as 49 miles per hour. Arctic temperatures will continue Saturday with a high near 15 degrees.
Local school districts, government offices and recreational facilities announced closures Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning as a nor’easter bringing as much as 14 inches of snow hit the East End.
Both the Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor School Districts announced they would close on Thursday, January 4. Southampton Town offices are also closed, as is the YMCA RECenter and Southampton Youth Services, Inc.
According to the National Weather Service, blizzard conditions are expected throughout Thursday with winds gusts northwest 23 to 28 mile per hour and increasing to 32 to 37 miles per hour this afternoon, with gusts as high as 49 miles per hour. Temperatures are only expected to reach 29 degrees, with wind chills between 10 and 15 degrees.
By Christine Sampson
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning ahead of a possible snowstorm, effective starting 1 a.m. on Thursday, for southeastern Suffolk County and other parts of Long Island and Connecticut.
The NWS is predicting snow accumulations of 6 to 10 inches with more than a foot possible in some areas. The winter storm warning is in effect until midnight Thursday into Friday.
“Winds gusting as high as 45 to 50 mph will cause areas of blowing and drifting snow,” the warning reads. “Several tree limbs and power lines may be downed, causing scattered power outages.”
Sag Harbor Village Mayor Sandra Schroeder said Wednesday if a state of emergency needs to be declared, the village has the ability to work with the local school district and fire department to bring people to Pierson Middle-High School or main firehouse for safety.
“Our fire chief and police chief always make arrangements if it’s necessary,” Ms. Schroeder said. “We have the equipment to go get you. A fire truck can get through damn near anything and the people are so dedicated they can get to you.”
She said the village is ready to handle a snowstorm, both in terms of equipment and manpower.
“The more snow, the longer it takes, but they’re dedicated people and they always get it done,” Ms. Schroeder said.
In the event the area does get a significant amount of snow, she is advising people to stay off the roads.
“I worry about people who go out driving to see the snow and I worry about them getting hurt,” she said.
In East Hampton Town, Diane Patrizio, director of human services, said Wednesday her team is busy preparing for the storm by calling residents who take advantages of programs such as senior citizen nutrition, adult day care or in-home services. Her staff will make arrangements to pick up their medications from drug stores, for example, or drop off food ahead of time in case the senior nutrition program is closed on Thursday or Friday.
“We advise them there’s a snow storm coming,” Ms. Patrizio said. “We try to be careful not to cause panic, but we make sure they’ll be OK. We ask if there’s something we can do to help.”
In Southampton Town, following Wednesday’s town board organizational meeting, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman will hold a meeting to address storm preparedness. Until then, a representative of Mr. Schneiderman said the town’s community centers in Flanders, Bridgehampton and Hampton Bays are open as unofficial warming centers during normal business hours, with the possibility of others being opened should that need be identified during the supervisor’s meeting.
Southampton Town highway superintendent Alex Gregor said if at least six inches of snow fall and blizzard conditions continue, he will recommend to the town supervisor that a state of emergency be declared.
“We’ve been gearing up for this one,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve suspended normal operations and the men are getting ready. We have plenty of salt, at least 45 town trucks and perhaps another 20 subcontractors helping us plow if need be.”
A state of emergency would allow the town to clear private roads in addition to the public roads. “We do that to make sure that police officers, ambulances and fire trucks can respond,” Mr. Gregor said.
He said it can take as many as seven hours to plow one complete pass-through the entire town, which has about 420 miles of main roads, 100 miles of private roads and multiple municipal parking lots.
“It does take a little time,” he said. “We certainly can use the public’s help. If you don’t have to be out, don’t be out.”
Mr. Gregor said he isn’t planning to pre-treat the roads because there is already much salt leftover from the last snowstorm, but East Hampton Town highway superintendent Stephen Lynch said he is planning to pre-treat the roads in East Hampton.
Mr. Lynch said East Hampton is ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at the South Fork, and said he hopes the residents are also paying attention to the weather.
“We’re pretty much all prepared,” he said. “Everyone has been called and put on alert. We have a full barn of salt and plenty of material to put down on the road. Now it’s just waiting and watching the weather. We’re prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.”
Emergency Contact Information
Dial 911 in case of an emergency
Sag Harbor Village Police Department non-emergency line — (631) 725-0058
To report electrical outages and downed wires — PSEG: (800) 490-0075 or text the word “OUT” to PSEGLI (773454)
To report gas emergencies — National Grid: (800) 490-0045
East Hampton Town Highway Department — (631) 324-0925
Southampton Town Highway Department — (631) 728-3600
To check road conditions and transit information, call 511NY by dialing 511 or visiting www.511ny.org
To obtain general emergency information from New York State, sign up for alerts through NY-ALERT by visiting www.nyalert.gov, calling (888) 697-6972 or downloading the smartphone app from ialertz.com