Update: Friday, 6 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Suffolk County as a nor’easter is expected to bring as much as 12 to 18 inches of snow to the East End overnight into Saturday evening.
The heaviest snow is likely to fall around 4 a.m., said meteorologist Nelson Vaz with the NWS office on Long Island. Some light snow fell earlier Friday.
“We’ll see the snowfall rates increase out on the East End to two to three inches per hour as you’re going into Saturday morning and afternoon,” he said.
While the anticipated conditions mean the snow will be light and powdery, heavy winds could make for particularly treacherous conditions around the North Fork’s open farm fields.
“We’re going to see strong winds and a lot of blowing drifting snow, white out conditions at times,” Mr. Vaz said. “There will be really difficult to impossible travel conditions on eastern Long Island during the day Saturday.”
Sustained winds above 25 mph with gusts as high as 65 are likely, he said.
Mr. Vaz added that it’s difficult to project at this time where exactly the heaviest bands of snow will fall or for how long, though NWS projections have the East End seeing the heaviest totals, with up to 18 inches projected for Montauk. The 6 p.m. warning from the NWS Friday said some areas of local snowfall up to two feet is possible on the East End.
Mr. Vaz added that it’s difficult to project at this time where exactly the heaviest bands of snow will fall or for how long, though NWS projections have the East End seeing the heaviest totals, with up to 16 inches projected for Montauk.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and other state officials joined Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Friday afternoon to provide an update on the storm. They reiterated the message for residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.
“This is likely to be one of the most significant storms over the last several years here,” Mr. Bellone said. He said timing of the storm late Friday into the weekend, as well as a lighter snow expected, are both good news.
“In terms of good news, that is it with this storm,” he said, noting the challenges that will be ahead to clear roads, particularly side streets, as temperatures plummet.
The governor said there will be a state of emergency declared as of 8 p.m. Friday, which allows the government power to purchase equipment and transfer personnel around as needed.
The Long Island Rail Road is expected to suspend service at some point in the overnight hours with a goal of being back to full capacity for the Monday morning commute, MTA chief Janno Lieber said. Residents are encouraged to check the MTA website or its mobile apps for real-time information. Mr. Bellone said Suffolk Transit will also be canceled Saturday and will get back running based on weather conditions.
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Dominguez said tow trucks will be placed strategically across Long Island, including in Riverhead, to help with clearing roads in event of automobile crashes.
Ms. Hochul said her biggest concern is motorists getting stranded.
“This is deadly serious, but it doesn’t have to be,” she said.
PSEG Long Island said more than 900 line workers, tree trimmers, surveyors and other utility personnel will be prepared for restoration on Saturday.
“However the storm tracks, our crews will safely restore any outages as quickly as these wintry conditions allow,” said Michael Sullivan, vice president of transmission and distribution at PSEG Long Island.
Temperatures are expected to drop into the lower 20s tonight and expected to hold through Saturday until dipping to the teens late Saturday.
Minor to locally moderate coastal flooding is also possible, particularly during times of high tide on Saturday.
In a press release, Riverhead Town Supervisor said a snow emergency will be declared Friday night into Saturday and all parked vehicles should be removed from roadways.