Update: Walter declares state of emergency as blizzard looms

01/02/2014 4:14 PM |
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Highway department assistant superintendent Mark Gajowski loads a truck up with sand/salt mixture at the highway department yard Thursday morning.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Highway department assistant superintendent Mark Gajowski loads a truck up with sand/salt mixture at the highway department yard Thursday morning.

Update: Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter declared a state of emergency starting at 9 p.m. tonight, Thursday, as a coastal storm approaching the area is expected to bring high winds and dump up to 10 inches of snow.

Mr. Walter cautioned cars to remain off town roadways and that residents along coastlines, especially the Long Island Sound in Wading River and Baiting Hollow, should prepare for coastal flooding and erosion.

Vehicles parked on public roadways during a state of emergency are subject to towing.

Original story: Though a large snowfall looms Thursday night into Friday, after snowfalls of 21.5 inches in 2010 and over two feet last winter, highway superintendent Gio Woodson said on Thursday he’s more than ready for this next one.

“A storm’s a storm. We do the same thing every time,” he said.

Mr. Woodson said Thursday afternoon that the town roads had been sanded and with most of the snowfall expected after midnight, the calm before the storm has set in.

Related: LIE to close at midnight

“Now it’s time to take a break, take a chill pill, rest up and get ready for tonight,” said Mr. Woodson.

While the National Weather Service website warns that anywhere from five to nine inches could come tonight, with another one two two inches tomorrow, NWS meteorologist Joe Pollina said that the East End is likely to fall on the higher end of the range.

“The twin forks, and Riverhead area, will likely be closer to the 10-inch range, with western Suffolk closer to eight inches,” he said. Mr. Pollina added that the bulk of snow should arrive after midnight, with minor accumulation after sunrise.

Mr. Woodson will be fighting this storm with new covers for his salt barns, finally. Constructed in 2011 at a cost of over $700,000, the structures were badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy less than six months later. The town proceeded to sue three of the companies associated with the construction of the barns, and remains in court on the matters. The town’s insurance paid for the new covers — which were fixed about a month ago — and will reimburse its insurance company should litigation prove successful, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

He added that with last year’s storm under their belt, and plenty of other bigger ones before this blizzard, crews are at the ready.

“Everybody’s ready. It doesn’t look like a terrible 24-inch snowstorm,” he said. “It’s cause it’s the first one of the year, so everybody is a little anxious.”

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