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NWS: Some rain may mix in with storm, but heavy snow still expected

COURTESY PHOTO A storm is bearing down on the East End.

COURTESY PHOTO A storm is bearing down on the East End.

The winter storm bearing down on Shelter Island Tuesday may switch over to rain for brief periods tomorrow afternoon, causing the National Weather Service (NWS) to cancel the blizzard watch.

A winter storm warning, however, remains in effect starting at midnight tonight, the NWS said.

“It’s not exactly good news,” Melissa Di Stigna, a meteorologist for the NWS in Upton said of the change from blizzard watch to winter storm warning. “The reason it changed is the storm may track a little farther west. Some brief periods of rain will probably slice in with the snow.”

The Island is expected to get somewhere between 7 and 12 inches of snow before the storm subsides

“It’s still not going to be a very good day to be out and about,” Ms. Di Stigna said.

The forecast could still potentially see some changes before the storm hits.

The winter storm warning calls for heavy snow with possible blizzard conditions Tuesday morning with snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour early Tuesday morning.

The storm is expected to last through the day Tuesday before clearing out late at night.

Damaging winds are also possible. The NWS said a northeast wind of 30 to 40 mph is expected with gusts up to 60 mph. The temperature will hover around 30 degrees and visibility will be one-quarter of a mile or less at times.

A coastal flood advisory is also in effect from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday. Minor to local moderate coastal flooding is expected around the time of high tide late Tuesday morning into Tuesday afternoon, the NWS said.

Police Chief Jim Read, who is the Island’s emergency management coordinator, told the Reporter Monday that preparations are in place for a major event.

There were no plans on Monday to open the Senior Center as a shelter, but the order would be given if circumstances dictated. The police department coordinates with the town’s senior services department to check on the home bound elderly and to “pair them up” with friends and neighbors if necessary, Chief Read said.

He noted that PSEG will be bringing over a crew to be on the Island through the storm for emergency work if power outages occur. Already on the Island are Federal Emergency Management Agency crews working on so-called “reliability projects,” involving trimming tree branches and installation of new poles.

These crews will also be available in the event of an emergency, the chief said.