For those hoping that the frigid winter weather was finally giving way to warmer, more temperate March climates, it appears that Old Man Winter is taking one final spiteful swipe at the Eastern Seaboard.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Upton has issued a Blizzard Watch, which is in effect from late Monday night through Tuesday evening. The watch has been issued for New York City and Long Island, as well as for Southern Westchester, Southern Fairfield, Southern New Haven, Middlesex, and New London counties.
The NWS’s forecast called for snow accumulation in the neighborhood of 12 to 18 inches and temperatures dropping into the upper 20s; in addition, blizzard conditions will account for strong Northeast winds ranging from 20 to 30 miles per hour (mph), with gusts hitting as hard as 40 to 50 mph.
While the blizzard hitting the Long Island area is a certainty at this point, most reports indicate that it's too early yet to know exactly where in the New York region the most snow will fall.
Travel conditions are expected to be very dangerous due to the anticipated moderate to heavy snow snowfall – with visibility cut down to one quarter mile or less at times – and gusty winds resulting in possible whiteout conditions, making driving in all but emergency situations ill-advised. A potential for power outages also exists, so residents are advised to take all possible precautions just in case power is lost for an extended period in their area.
After a brief spell of warmer temperatures, March has seen a spell of unseasonably cold weather, with average highs about 15 or 20 degrees below normal for the season. However, New York as a whole as has seen far less snow this winter compared to the previous year; by March of 2016, 32.3 inches of snow had fallen in the area, as opposed to just 20.5 inches by March of 2017.
Ready.gov, the Official website of the Department of Homeland Security, offers the following advice on how to best deal with the uncertainty and hazardous nature of blizzard conditions:
Before the blizzard approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
- Sand to improve traction.
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
- Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
During a blizzard:
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack - a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
- Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
For the most up to date weather information, go to the LongIsland.com Weather Center, where you can find the latest weather forecasts, advisories, and more.
Districts have not announced school delays and closings yet, but the latest information on local School Closings & Delays is available here on LongIsland.com.
[Source: National Weather Service]
A recent Tweet from the National Weather Service:
Confidence rising for major coastal winter storm Mon nt - Wed. Still much uncertainty on details, but winter storm & blizzard watches issued pic.twitter.com/t05F5GQpxZ
— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) March 12, 2017