Forecast: 6 to 8 inches of snow expected for Riverhead with 50 mph wind gusts

01/22/2016 5:00 AM |

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This winter season’s first nor’easter could bring blizzard conditions — heavy snow, strong gusts of wind and limited visibility — on Saturday, according to the latest weather forecasts from the National Weather Service.

But as for the snow totals themselves? You can most likely breathe a sigh of relief.

According to the NWS’s forecasts as of Friday morning, Riverhead is expected to be coated in 6 to 8 inches of snow by the time the storm runs its course Sunday, said meteorologist David Stark.

“Overall it doesn’t look like it’ll be the heavier snowfalls,” Mr. Stark said, noting that the forecast will continue to be updated as the storm gets closer.

Early Friday’s projections show the wintery storm hitting just after daybreak on Saturday with snowfall picking up intensity throughout the day. By the afternoon and into the evening, high winds with gusts of up to 50 mph and heavy snow will make it dangerous to go outside, Mr. Stark said.

Temperatures will remain below freezing, potentially dipping into the upper 20s Saturday night, he said.

“We’re still looking at some potential for blizzard conditions Saturday,” he said. A blizzard watch is now is effect for from 6 a.m. Saturday through 1 p.m. Sunday.

But Sunday should bring nicer weather. The storm is expected to start winding down by Sunday morning, Mr. Stark said. The sun may even come out by late-morning with temperatures rising back above freezing, forecasts show.

“There’s no significant cold after this,” Mr. Stark said. Coastal flooding from the storm may be an issue, but areas farther west appear to be more at risk, he added.

The forecast could shift, Mr. Stark warned. The storm appears to have a sharp drop-off in accumulation; snowfall totals should be much lower just 20 or 30 miles north into Connecticut.

Should the storm dip south, Long Island will be spared more snow, Mr. Stark said. But if the storm turns farther north, expect this year’s first blizzard to pack more of a punch.

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