Ten plow trucks and two pay loaders have been clearing Sag Harbor roads since Monday night. Photo by Michael Heller.
UPDATE: 7:30 a.m. Wednesday
A travel ban was lifted in Southampton Town at 6 a.m. this morning, while officials in East Hampton are still asking residents to stay put, as highway workers continue to clear the 20 or so inches of snow that fell on the East End this week.
Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst declared a travel ban on Monday evening, which made all nonessential or emergency driving illegal. Southampton Town Hall will open at noon today.
In East Hampton Town, however, the town offices will remain closed all day to nonessential personnel. According to Alex Walter, executive assistant to the Supervisor, town officials will meet today to discuss when they will lift restrictions in East Hampton.
UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday
Government officials and local police continue to ask East End residents to stay home as highway workers attempt to clear snow after what many are saying was a historic blizzard.
According to East Hampton Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch, roads in the town remain “full of snow.” East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said it has been difficult to gauge exactly how much snow has fallen in East Hampton Town, but the current reports vary between 18 and 22 inches.
The National Weather Service reports snowfall of 28 inches in Southampton and 20.3 inches in Noyac.
“It’s still snowing and the snow is really deep so [clearing the roads] takes a lot longer to do,” Mr. Lynch said on Tuesday afternoon. “It would be really good if people could stay off the roads,” he added. Mr. Lynch said his department have had to deal with several cars that got stuck while driving around, including a pick-up truck which was abandoned Hands Creek Road.
Several plow trucks have gotten stuck already trying to assist vehicles that had hit snow banks, Mr. Lynch said.
The East Hampton Town Police are pulling over cars on the road, Chief Sarlo said “asking them what their business is on the road and turning them around.” They have not issued any summonses or fines, he said, because of some confusion this morning after Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted the travel ban.
“That was a mistake, it was supposed to still be in effect in Suffolk County,” Chief Sarlo said.
Chief Sarlo also said that people should stay put because the excess weight on the icy roads will only worsen conditions.
According to Mr. Lynch, there are currently has 80 to 90 pieces of equipment out on East Hampton roads this evening.
“We’ve got pretty much all the main roads open,” Mr. Lynch said, but added that workers are still trying to widen the roadways. With any hope the town’s secondary roads will be cleared by tomorrow afternoon, he said.
“We ask people to be patient,” Chief Sarlo said. He also asked that those in walking distance of elderly or shut-in neighbors keep an eye on them.
“If we get emergency calls, we’re going in with a snow plow,” he said. For now, the town has only had to respond to a couple of routine ambulance calls and call for help from vehicles stranded in snow banks.
With snow still falling along much of the East End and two to four inches expected to accumulate before nightfall, it looks as though tomorrow will be another day off work for many in eastern Suffolk County.
“Our company line is that the schools are closed tomorrow and it’ll take most of the day to get roads back together,” Chief Sarlo said.
“As a community, we should be patient and take tomorrow as a day to dig ourselves out,” Chief Sarlo said.
Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton schools will be closed tomorrow.
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m. Tuesday
Emergency orders remain in effect in Sag Harbor Village, where the highway department has been trying to clear roads for the past 30 hours, according to Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride.
“It really is a pretty tough storm,” Mr. Gilbride said over the phone on Tuesday afternoon. While driving through the village, he has seen areas of two to three feet as snow, and some snowdrifts as high as five feet, he said.
“I see people out, there’s no real reason to be going out because there’s no stores open, there’s nothing open. It’s best if everybody just stays home and gives these guys a chance,” Mr. Gilbride said.
In the village, nine trucks and two pay loaders have been out since 5 p.m. last night, Mr. Gilbride said. The vehicles have plowed the streets of the village nine times so far, but the wind continues to blow snow back into the streets. They are now going to take a short break before getting back to work through the night.
“We’ve got another day ahead of us,” Mr. Gilbride said, before the roads in the village are clear.
As of now, Sag Harbor has not seen any coastal flooding, the mayor said, apart from some slight flooding on Glover Street due to slush clogging a street drain.
“The city lucked out this time,” Mr. Gilbride said, “And we didn’t.”
UPDATE: 11 a.m. Tuesday
The twin forks bore the brunt of the blizzard of the year, which continues on in the Eastern most parts of Suffolk County.
High winds and periods of heavy snow have dropped two to three feet of powder across the East End, with many roads still cut off and unplowed.
Although a travel ban has been lifted in New Jersey and in other parts of Long Island, it remains in effect in East Hampton and Southampton Towns.
According to the Southampton Town Police, most people obeyed the 11 p.m. travel ban ordered by Governor Andrew Cuomo last night and stayed off the roads.
Police and town officials continue to urge residents to stay home and hunker down.
A blizzard warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. this evening, although the heaviest snow and strongest winds have likely passed, according to the weather service.
UPDATE: 4 p.m. Monday
The Town of East Hampton has issued a state of emergency, effective 4 p.m. this afternoon, urging residents to refrain from travelling through Tuesday. All
As in Southampton Town, parking on public roadways is prohibited and vehicles will be towed.
Southampton Hospital cancelled all nonessential services at 3 p.m. today. Dialysis will be available through tonight’s shift, but will be closed tomorrow; emergency dialysis will be available. All Meeting House Lane medical practices will be closed tomorrow. The hospital departments are all prepared for the blizzard, they said, and have taken all the necessary precautions.
Southampton will be in a state of emergency at 7 p.m., at which point any nonessential driving will be illegal, according to a press release issued by the town.
“High winds, high accumulation and drifting snow, frigid temperatures, power outages and local flooding are expected. The storm is forecast to last through Wednesday morning. Residents in low lying areas or without an adequate alternative heating or power source should consider evacuating prior to the full onset of the storm and before the effective time of the state of emergency (7PM),” they said.
There will be a full travel ban in effect in Long Island as of 11 p.m. tonight, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this afternoon.
Southampton Town residents with special medical needs should call (631) 728-1235 before 5 p.m. if they anticipate needing assistance. Residents who may need to shelter pets should call (631) 728-7387. Local emergencies can be reported to (631) 728-3400. For life-threatening emergencies, call 911.
UPDATE: Noon Monday
The Town of Southampton will be calling a state of emergency at 7 p.m. this evening, according to Southampton Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, which means non-essential vehicles must be off the road by that time.
“Don’t be out driving tonight and please don’t park on public roads or parking lots,” Mr. Gregor said. Those parked on the road after that time will be ticketed and towed at the driver’s expense.
“But please just don’t go out in the snow, please don’t walk on the side of the road. We can’t see you if you’re walking in whiteout conditions,” he added.
The town is organizing 50 trucks with plows and their 10 pay loaders; as weather conditions worsen, more trucks and vehicles from large East End subcontractors will hit the roads.
The town will be responsible for plowing the 950 miles of town-maintained roads, as well as 100 miles of smaller, secondary roads in areas of Noyac and North Sea, Mr. Gregor said. Once they begin to see snows of 2 to 3 inches, they will hold off on plowing the roads until the heaviest snow stops.
There will also be a flood watch in effect; those in Sag Harbor Cove, Pine Neck and Bay Point should be particularly vigilant, Mr. Gregor said.
County Executive Steve Bellone is scheduled to give a press conference on the upcoming storm at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, which will be broadcast on local news channels.
UPDATE: 9:30 a.m. Monday
Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton Schools will have early dismissal on Monday and will be closed all day Tuesday in preparation for the potentially historic storm expected to hit Long Island Monday afternoon.
Students at Pierson-Middle High School will be dismissed at noon today, and elementary students will be dismissed at 12:45 p.m. There will be no afternoon Pre-K classes. All sports, SHAEP, after school and evening activities on Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled.
All students at Bridgehampton School will be dismissed at 12:45 p.m. on Monday, and the school will be closed on Tuesday. All sports and after school activities, including ASPIRE, have been cancelled.
The Sag Harbor Board of Education meeting scheduled for this evening will now be moved to Monday, February 2.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the East End, with one to three feet of snow expected to accumulate from Monday afternoon through Tuesday night.
The storm, which will likely begin around 1 p.m. on Monday, could be “crippling and potentially historic,” according to the weather service.
Light snow in the morning will pick up intensity in the evening, with the heaviest winds and snowfall starting Monday at midnight and lasting through Tuesday afternoon.
The weather service discourages all unnecessary travel starting on Monday afternoon, as whiteout conditions are expected. If travel is absolutely necessary, the weather service advises having a winter survival kit. The weather service has says that it may become impossible to drive on secondary roads and advises those who get stranded in their vehicles to remain there.
The Town of East Hampton has advised residents to refrain from driving on Monday evening and all day Tuesday in a message posted on its website (www.town.east-hampton.ny.us) on Sunday.
“All residents are urged to monitor the National Weather Service advisories, network news channels, LTV channels 20 & 22, and this website for further information,” the message reads.
“Regardless of the track of this storm it appears that a significant snowfall is likely, and residents should take all necessary precautions prior to Monday afternoon,” it continues.
A moderate flood warning will be in effect in low-lying coastal areas from late Monday night through Tuesday morning; shore road closures may be necessary.
High winds Monday night and Tuesday could cause trees to fall. To report an outage to PSEG-Long Island, call 1-800-490-0075, text OUT to 773454 or through their website psegliny.com.