Businesses, schools and public places closed across East Meadow Tuesday when a messy nor'easter swept across the South Shore early in the morning, bringing with it a mix of snow, sleet and rain.
Road conditions were slippery and dangerous.
The East Meadow School District announced Monday the closing of schools for Tuesday, citing high wind gusts and significant snowfall as the reason for closing. "Please emphasize safety for your children as tomorrow's severe weather will bring about many hazardous conditions," Superintendent Leon Campo said in a statement to parents on Monday. Although the snowfall did not accumulate to the National Weather Service’s anticipated 12 to 18 inches by press time on Tuesday, schools remained closed.
“Due to the predictions, pretty much everyone that could remain closed did for safety reasons, including my gym,” Frank Camarano Jr., president of the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce and manager at East Meadow’s World Gym, said. “Other than occasional bodegas, 7-Elevens and gas stations, not much is going on. Businesses and revenue are at a stand still.”
The East Meadow Public Library and the Island Harvest Food Bank Eisenhower Park distribution site closed ahead of the anticipated storm. The Nassau County Correctional Center canceled its visiting hours ahead of time. Nassau University Medical Center prepped for the storm on Monday by activating an Emergency Services Center equipped with medical staff available 24 hours on Tuesday.
“Emergency generators have been tested, and supplies checked to make sure patients and staff will have sufficient food,” Victor Politi, NUMC president and CEO, said in a statement. He added that NUMC was prepared to receive patients from other hospitals “should those facilities become overcrowded.”
Government officials, including Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino, said they were concerned that lower-than-predicted snow totals might give people a false sense of security that roads are drivable. They aren't, Santino said, so people should stay put as road crews clear streets and apply salt to de-ice them.
On Tuesday, the prognosticators were calling for six to 12 inches of snow, and they said that total was subject to change. It might be lower if more rain were to fall.
A coastal flood warning remained in effect through 2 p.m. Tuesday, and moderate coastal flooding was expected during periods of high tide into Tuesday afternoon.
Santino said that the town had 50,000 tons of rock salt on hand and that crews were out in force since Sunday preparing roads throughout the town with snow-melting brine, and that more than 400 workers were ready to respond with about 300 pieces of equipment.
Santino advised residents with health conditions to avoid shoveling snow and call 911 in an emergency.
At press time, PSEG Long Island was reporting scattered outages in Hicksville, Bay Shore and Shirley.
“PSEG Long Island takes storms of this forecasted magnitude seriously, and we proactively prepare and position our restoration workforce so our crews can begin work as soon as the conditions are safe,” said John O’Connell, PSEG-LI's vice president of transmission and distribution. “In addition to scheduling additional PSEG Long Island personnel and contractors to respond to outages, we have arranged for utility crews from other states to provide assistance in restoring customer outages that may result from the storm.”
PSEG-LI offered this advice to homeowners:
* Save PSEG Long Island’s 24-hour Electric Service number: (800) 490-0075.
* Follow PSEG Long Island on Facebook and Twitter for updates before, during and after the storm. Remember, though, that outages cannot be reported through Facebook.
* Downed wires should always be considered live. Do not approach or drive over a downed line and do not touch anything it might be in contact with. If a wire falls on or near your car, stay inside the car, call 911 and do not get out until PSEG Long Island de-energizes the line. If you must get out of the vehicle because it is on fire, jump as far as possible away from the vehicle, with both feet landing on the ground at the same time, and hop or shuffle away.
* Make sure everyone in the family is prepared and knows what to do if there is an emergency. Visit psegliny.com/page.cfm/Home/Safety to learn about safety tips from Sesame Street and YouTube videos.
More as this story develops.