As temperature plummets, town opens warming center

With temperatures in single digits at times today, Riverhead Town is urging people to stay indoors and has opened a warming center at the town Human Resource Center in Aquebogue from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

“The wind this morning will make it feel even colder, bring the wind chill to dangerous levels,” Supervisor Sean Walter said in a town release. “Winds should subside this afternoon, but the temperatures will not make it out of the teens, returning to single digits tonight.”

The National Weather Service says the wind chill factor could be between 5 and 10 degrees below zero today, with wind gusts up to 32 mph.

“If you are without heat, please relocate to a relative’s, friend’s or neighbor’s home,” Mr. Walter said. “If you have nowhere to go, please stop by the Human Resource Center.”

After 4:30 p.m., people should call 911 if a situation is an emergency or call police at 727-4500.

The town is warning people to reduce the amount of time they spend outdoors and to cover exposed areas of skin when they are outdoors to avoid frostbite and hypothermia.

The Human Resource Center is located at 60 Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue and can be reached at 722-4444.

Cold weather is predicted to continue this weekend, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a winter storm watch from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday. The weather service is predicting strong winds and blowing snow in near blizzard conditions, with snow accumulations ranging from 3 to 5 inches for Riverhead Town and wind gusts up to 60 mph. Southold Town is expected to get higher snow totals with 6 to 8 inches.

“Once the storm starts to really develop off the coast, Eastern Long Island appears to be the place that will have the highest snowfall total,” NWS meteorologist David Stark said Friday morning.

The snow is expected to start falling around noon and increase intensity overnight. Sustained winds of 25 to 45 mph are expected.

“That could bring down some tree limbs and power lines and create blowing snow conditions,” Mr. Stark said.

Even after the storm tappers off, the cold will persist, Mr. Stark said. The worst could come Monday morning when the wind chill could be as low as -20 degrees, he said.

“We have a very cold period up ahead,” Mr. Stark said. “The warmest temperate will probably be tomorrow. From there things just go downhill. We are not seeing any major warmup at all in the next seven days.”

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