Long Beach, a city still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, declared a snow emergency effective Friday at 6 a.m., when a monster blizzard is expected to hit the northeast and deliver more than a foot of snow in some areas and coastal flooding along the South Shore.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for all of Long Island beginning 6 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m. on Saturday, with 50-mph wind gusts and snow accumulations of 10 to 14 inches. The strongest winds and heaviest snow will occur Friday evening into Saturday morning. Heavy snow and winds will make for dangerous driving conditions with visibilities near zero in white-out conditions. In addition, some tree limbs will be downed, causing scattered power outages.
The National Weather Service has also issued a coastal flood warning for Nassau County, with moderate coastal flooding during high tide between 6 to 8 p.m. Friday evening, with the agency reporting waves of 9-feet or more.
The National Weather Service said that there is the potential for widespread flooding of vulnerable shore roads and basements due to the height of the storm tide and possible wave action, saying that there could be some structural damage to areas along ocean-facing beaches.
The storm and flooding is not expected to be as severe as Sandy, which delivered a 13- to 14-foot surge and battered Long Beach. Still, the National Weather Service is warning residents to be "be alert for rising water" and take appropriate action. City crews have constructed sand barriers along the beach to protect the city during winter storms in the aftermath of Sandy.
City officials, meanwhile, are instructing residents to remove their vehicles from designated snow-removal routes. According to the city, even as the Long Beach recovers from Hurricane Sandy, street maintenance crews "are fully prepared" for winter storms, with snow removal vehicles and salt and sand spreaders ready to go when snow starts to fall. The city’s Department of Public Works, it said, has a "thorough snow emergency response plan in place." Plowing in the city will begin when 3-inches of snow has accumulated.
"Our Public Works Department is fully prepared for this weekend's storm," City Council President Scott Mandel said in a statement on Thursday. "Crews will be out salting, sanding, and plowing our streets. Vehicles must be removed from designated snow emergency routes. When shoveling snow and clearing the sidewalk, please do not throw snow into the middle of the street. Please remember to stock up on essential items in advance of the storm. Snow removal operations will continue around the clock to ensure the safety of our roads."
Mandel advised residents to check local weather reports and visit the city's website at www.longbeachny.org and its Facebook page for updates, snow removal routes, emergency phone numbers and other information.
Nassau and Suffolk counties are expected to activate their respective Emergency Operations Centers on Friday. The Long Island Power Authority, highly criticized for its response during Sandy, announced on Thursday that National Grid is taking advance steps to prepare LIPA’s system for the incoming blizzard.
The storm has the potential to cause electrical outages for more than 100,000 customers on Long Island, the agency said on its website. In anticipation of these outages, National Grid is taking numerous advance steps to prepare LIPA's system for the predicted weather and to position the company for "an efficient and timely restoration effort."
The effort includes securing hundreds of extra line crews, tree trimmers, and support personnel to support the more than 500 lineman and 150 tree trimmers on site and ready to restore power. Additional storm information will be available on LIPA’s web site at www.lipower.org/stormcenter.