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Police respond to multiple accidents during snowstorm, highway crews continue plowing

car fire

Update 1 p.m.: Riverhead Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson said highway crews have plowed the town’s main roads, but advised residents to stay indoors until later this afternoon.

“We do have some trees and wires coming down, so that’s why we’re telling people to stay off the road,” he said.

Mr. Woodson said the snowplows were just starting to reach developments around town. Conditions, he said, should improve by the evening.

Riverhead police have been busy as well.

According to police, a car caught fire and was destroyed due to a downed power wire on West Main Street at about 8:41 a.m. The Riverhead Fire Department put out the fire and PSEG responded to turn off the power in the area.

There were seven motor vehicle accidents through 1 p.m. in Riverhead Town, police said, but none of them were major.

Police said one man struck a light pole on the Long Island Expressway at about 8:30 a.m and there were two reports of trees down in the roadway, one near Suffolk County National Bank and one Riverside Drive, according to police. Police have also had to respond to traffic light outages at Northville Turnpike and Old Country Road.

The National Weather Service is now warning snowfall totals could reach up to a foot in some areas.

A private plow clearing the slush Friday morning in front of McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home on Marcy Avenue in Riverhead. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch photo)

Update 11 a.m.: According to forecasts from the National Weather Service, between 5 and 10 inches could fall on our area by the time Friday’s snowstorm is through.

The projected snowfall total has been steadily rising as the storm makes its way across the East End. Official snowfall totals have not been updated since earlier this morning, when 1.7 inches was recorded in Baiting Hollow and 2 inches in Mattituck.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 people remain without power in Riverhead.

Update 7 a.m.: Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter has declared a Winter Storm Event for Riverhead until 7 p.m.

Cars must be removed from roadways so snowplows can get through, the supervisor said. Police will be able to impound cars that affect the roads.

Mr. Walter also said residents should stay inside if possible and use “extreme caution” and drive slowly if they must leave the house. Any fire hydrants near residents’ homes should be shoveled. In case of emergency, dial 911 or call police headquarters at 631-727-4500.

Riverhead Highway Superintendent Gio Woodson said highway crews are currently sanding and salting the roads and will begin plowing when the storm is about halfway over.

He described the town’s supply of sand and salt as “good so far.”

As for road conditions, Mr. Woodson said drivers need to slow down.

“If you don’t have to be out on the roads, don’t,” he said. “If you have to go out, then use your head and drive slow.”

snow 1

Update 9 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, in effect from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

And “moderate to heavy” snow may be coming. As of 8 p.m., forecasters are predicting 5 to 8 inches of accumulation, along with wind gusts of up to 35 mph.

Click here to see a full list of school closings and other delays.

Original story: Southold could be in for a “messy commute” Friday morning.

The National Weather Service is forecasting about 2 inches of snow for our area Thursday night into Friday.

Rain will first hit the North Fork between 6 and 8 p.m., changing over into snow during the overnight, said NWS meteorologist Carlie Buccola. The snow should continue until about noon.

“It does look like it’ll be a messy commute,” Ms. Buccola said. “It’ll be a wet snow.”

However, the rest of the weekend looks clear, she said. Temperatures should rise into the mid 40s by Saturday, with a sunny forecast for Sunday.

Top photo: This car caught fire and was destroyed Friday morning due to a downed power wire on West Main Street. (Credit: Tim Gannon)