It started with light, drifting snow Monday morning. By Monday night it was a blizzard, pounding down four inches of snow an hour driven by 30 miles an hour winds, with gusts topping 50 mph. It didn’t stop until around dinner time Tuesday evening.
Dubbed “Winter Storm Juno” by meteorologists, the powerful nor’easter shut the school for two days, the post office closed early Monday and remained closed Tuesday and Town Hall was dark as well.
Accumulation totals vary, but most agree more than two feet of snow covered the Island.
While the city, Nassau and western Suffolk counties were spared from the worst, the East End was right in the path of the big bruiser that just kept on coming.
Supervisor Jim Dougherty didn’t hesitate to call an official state of emergency for the town, which got traffic off the roads and allowed emergency vehicles to operate without red tape. It also gave town government certain powers to act quickly to combat emergencies.
Police Chief Jim Read, as emergency management coordinator of the town, kept a close eye on events and gave informed updates on the situation.
But Islanders can feel fortunate that no serious emergencies occurred. PSEG crews were on the Island by Monday afternoon, but there were only minor power outages, with the company reporting five customers without lights. Several emergency medical calls were answered and patients delivered without incident to Eastern Long Island Hospital by Emergency Medical Services personnel.
Cleared roads mitigated what could have been a disaster for emergency calls. Highway Department crews under the leadership of Superintendent Jay Card Jr. — “I’m living on coffee” —worked tirelessly, battling the blizzard for a day, a night and another day.
Speaking about working hour after hour in darkness, high winds and heavy snow, Mr. Card said, “It’s brutal on the body and brutal on the mind. You have to constantly stay focused and keep pushing.”
Mr. Card said he, and all Islanders, were blessed to have such a loyal, conscientious and dedicated team.
The school and the Recycling Center remained closed Wednesday, but the Island was shaking off its cabin fever and ready for a day without snow.