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Winter storm to spare East End heaviest snow totals



The late-winter storm striking the tri-state area Tuesday is expected to spare the East End the worst, but dangerous conditions are still expected with high winds and blizzard-like conditions. The National Weather Service’s (NWS) most recent winter storm warning for the East End warns of heavy snow and sleet and snow accumulations of 4 to 12 inches. Original predictions had called for between 12 and 18 inches.

The heaviest snow is now expected to hit southern Connecticut, New York City and the Hudson Valley areas where as much as two feet of snow may fall. Parts of western Suffolk County along the north shore are still facing a blizzard watch, but most of the county is now in a winter storm warning as the storm made landfall early Tuesday tracking more to the west, according to the NWS.

The storm will bring a wintry mix as snow changes to sleet and rain sometime this afternoon. The precipitation is expected to change back to all snow before the end of the evening, the NWS said.

Gusts of wind up to 55 mph are still expected with more sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph, leaving the possibility of downed power lines. No problems were reported by PSEG Long Island as of 6 a.m. today.

Visibility will be one-quarter of a mile or less at times, creating dangerous travel conditions.

Shelter Island braced for the storm, with Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. declaring a snow emergency as of midnight last night. Town Hall was closed Tuesday. Shelter Island School as well as schools all across the East End are closed today.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency across the state that began at midnight. All non-essential state employees, except those in a few counties, were told not to report to work today.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, in a conference call Monday afternoon, encouraged residents to avoid driving if possible. Strong wind combined with heavy snow will likely create white-out conditions in the morning that make it difficult even for plows to navigate, Mr. Bellone said.

“It’s very important that people are not traveling tomorrow unless they absolutely have to,” he said. “The road conditions, I would describe, based on the prediction of the storm, to be treacherous.”

The Suffolk County website has been updated with public information for emergencies to provide updates and contact information for residents.

A coastal flood warning also remains in effect into the early afternoon tidal cycle, the NWS said.

Minor to moderate coastal flooding is expected around high tides along the eastern bays of Long Island and the Atlantic Ocean beaches. High tide on Shelter Island is 12:30 p.m. and moderate flooding is expected.