Daily Grind

 

Navigating the roads after a snowstorm can be difficult, especially with road shoulders filled with snow. Despite lifting a travel ban earlier on Wednesday, East Hampton police have been urging motorists to stay off the roads so that highway crews can clear them. Less traffic not only makes it easier for plows to get through, but also emergency vehicles. 

An East Hampton Star photographer captured the driver of a Hummer moving left, instead of right, to let an East Hampton Volunteer Ambulance Association rig by on Main Street, where the shoulder is blocked by high snow mounds. 

Village Police Capt. Mike Tracey said that's the wrong thing to do. "Emergency vehicles pass on the left and it is dangerous to do otherwise simply because you can never tell if a motorist sees and hears you," he said.  In the picture Mr. Tracey was shown, he said the ambulance driver likely "has no idea if the Humvee driver sees him or if he is just drifting left for another reason."

Diane O'Donnell, the chief of the East Hampton ambulance agency, said the safest thing drivers can do is pull as far to the right as they can and stop and let the ambulance go around. "Our drivers are pretty careful, especially in the winter. They won't force them into the snow banks," she said. 

As much as you want the street cleared and your driveway plowed, you should also be mindful of fire hydrants that are likely buried under the snow, fire chiefs cautioned on Wednesday. 

While most fire departments are trying to organize firefighters to go out and uncover the hydrants, they need the community's help. It may be extra work, but if there is a fire on your block, you'll be glad you dug a path to the hydrant so firefighters can connect hoses without delay.

Sag Harbor and Springs firefighters were planning to go out Wednesday afternoon to clear the fire hydrants and wells in their districts. Montauk Fire Chief Joe Lenahan said he asked firefighters to do the same in their neighborhoods. 

Fire chiefs recommended clearing from the hydrant to the road in front of it, leaving two to three feet around the hydrant.

The Suffolk County Water Authority also issued a reminder. "Taking a few minutes to clear hydrants of snow and ice in the vicinity of your home allows firefighters to get right to work when they arrive at the scene of a fire," Jeffrey W. Szabo, the water authority's chief executive officer, said. 

A few days behind schedule due to the blizzard, the Ladies Village Improvement Society of East Hampton's annual Blow Out Sale will start on Thursday. 

All clothing, including women's, men's and children's coats, hats, and boots will be marked down to $1 when the L.V.I.S. opens its doors at 10 a.m. Books will continue to be 50 percent off unless otherwise marked. 

The sale will continue through Saturday. The thrift stores will then close for the month of February.

The blizzard left its mark on Montauk, causing beach erosion, though it did not reach the oceanside motels.

The blizzard left its mark on Montauk, causing beach erosion, though it did not reach the oceanside motels. There was about a two-and-a-half-foot drop on the beach to the level to the ocean. Montauk may have seen the worst of the wind gusts with a reported 40-to-50-mile-per-hour winds that caused whiteout conditions, but that didn't stop some businesses from opening. Marshall and Sons was open, and Marshall Prado said he was doing a brisk business in pulling cars from deep snow drifts, an estimated 4 to 5 feet in places. The 7-Eleven was also open, and even the Citgo gas station was open for business, though it had not been plowed yet.

The blizzard didn't stop emergency workers from responding to calls, including volunteers in the fire departments and ambulance agencies throughout the South Fork. 

Since 4 p.m. on Monday, there were 12 chiefs' investigations for alarms going off, and three calls for emergency medical services in the Town of East Hampton, which includes Sag Harbor. The Bridgehampton Fire Department, whose coverage area extends from Wainscott to Water Mill, had six chiefs' investigations and two E.M.S. calls. 

In Springs, E.M.T.s responded to two serious calls within about two and a half hours on Monday evening, starting with a chest pains call at 6:45 p.m. and a call for a woman in active labor at about 9:30 p.m. The child wasn't born inside the house or on the way to the hospital, but it was close. At that time, the roads were slick, but still in good shape, Fire Chief David King said. "Had it been 4 o'clock in the morning that would have been a problem," he said. 

Several firefighters found themselves traveling in crippling conditions early morning hours on Tuesday. Gas detector and carbon monoxide alarms went off in four houses in Bridgehampton's fire district between 3:30 and 5 a.m., and chiefs and captains responding had a difficult time even getting close to the houses.

While the houses were mostly unoccupied, Chief Gary Horsburgh said the alarms went off due to low-lying gas vents being covered by the snow. "Keep your vents clear," he warned.

Just before 9 a.m., a family called the fire department to Norris Lane in Bridgehampton for the smell of gas. Because of high carbon monoxide readings, the family was taken to Southampton Hospital, where at least one person was treated. The call took emergency personnel more than two and a half hours because of the road conditions. 

"It's really difficult to move around; it's almost impossible," Chief King said from Springs. "I worry about the guys going across Sagaponack with the open fields and whatnot," he said. "It's going to be just as bad tonight." 

East Hampton Village Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack said the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association, of which she is a longtime member, had a crew staying at the firehouse to answer calls, though there were none overnight. "I am always impressed by the people who are willing to spend the night at the firehouse — firefighters, E.M.T.s, Highway Department men, police and dispatchers, those handling the Emergency Operations Center. They are up all night, grabbing breaks when they can for coffee and snacks so that our citizens can sleep soundly at home in their beds, safe and warm," Mrs. Borsack said. "It is a breed apart and they are very special." 

In Montauk, where winds were 40 to 50 miles per hour, firefighters also investigated four alarms. Chief Joe Lenahan reported it was also "hard to get to the houses off the grid." 

East Hampton Town police are also still responding to calls, but officers are staying safe by standing by at the firehouse and precincts between calls, Chief Michael Sarlo said.

While most of East Hampton kept its power on overnight, power outages remain a possibility as the snow continues to fall on Tuesday. PSEG Long Island said Monday it had amply prepared for the high winds and blizzard conditions forecasted. PSEG brought in an additional 400 personnel from utilities elsewhere in the country, and it has performed system checks on critical equiment. However, in the event of power outages, PSEG recommends the following:

First, check to see if you are the only one without power in your neighborhood, as it is possible there is a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse in your residence. If all is well, check the wires outside between your house and the utility pole. Reported downed wires immediately to PSEG Long Island by phone at 800-490-0075. Do not go near or touch a downed wire. 

There are several other ways to report an outage. Text "OUT" to PSEGLI (773454), and you'll receive ongoing status updates by the outage. You do have to register by texting REG to the same number or go online to sign your account up. You may also report an outage online at psegliny.com/stormcenter. Do not report outages via social media, PSEG Long Island said. 

In East Hampton Town, residents can also phone the joint town and village Emergency Operations Center. Village residents should call 631-907-9796, and town residents should call 631-907-9743 to report outages.  

Customers who rely on electricty to operate life-sustaining equipment, such as a dialysis machine, should call 800-490-0025. They should also inform their local fire department or ambulance agency, in case of an emergency. 

If the power goes out, PSEG Long Island recommends having an emergency kit that includes a battery powered radio, a corded telephone, flashlights and extra batteries, a car charger for mobile devices, a non-electric can opener, extra blankets, and a list of emergency numbers

During the blizzard, East Hampton Town and Village officials are standing by to help, and here's a list of important phone numbers to keep handy. As you prepare for the storm, why not print this out?

Emergency Numbers:

The joint town and village Emergency Operations Center, which will field calls about storm-related issues, has two numbers, one for village residents and one for town residents. Village residents should call 631-907-9796, and town residents should call 631-907-9743. Emergency line remains 911. 

East Hampton Town police headquarters in Wainscott: 631-537-7575

East Hampton Village police headquarters: 631-324-0777

East Hampton Highway Department: 631-324-0925

Utilities:

Cablevision: 631-727-6300

PSEG Long Island to report outages: 800-490-0075

Suffolk County Water Authority: 631-698-9500; for 24-hour repairs: 631-665-0663

Medical:

Southampton Hospital: 631-726-8200

Suffolk County Health Services: 631-853-3000

Travel: 

Hampton Jitney: 631-283-4600

Hampton Luxury Liner: 631-567-5100

Long Island Rail Road: 718-217-5477

Suffolk County Transit Bus: 631-852-5200

As the South Fork braces for the blizzard on Monday, we are beginning to learn of school cancellations and business closures. We will keep a running list below, but we'll need your help. Please email us announcements and information to TKV@ehstar.com to announce a meeting that has been canceled or to let your customers know you are closing early. Early school dismissals and closure announcements have been covered elsewhere on the site; click here for more information

Closures:

• The food pantries in East Hampton and Amagansett will be closed on Tuesday. Clients in need of emergency food may call 631-324-2300. 

• The East Hampton YMCA RECenter will close early. Afternoon and evening classes have been canceled. The center will also close on Tuesday. 

Amagansett Library closed at 3 p.m., and will remain closed on Tuesday. The library asked patrons to call the library at 267-3810 to confirm the library is open before venturing out. Overdue fines will be waived. 

• The East Hampton Library is closing its doors at 1 p.m.

Guild Hall in East Hampton Village will close Monday afternoon through Wednesday. It will reopen for regularly scheduled hours on Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

• The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill will close at noon on Monday.

Hampton Coffee locations in Water Mill and Southampton will close at 2 p.m. 

• The Ladies Village Improvement Society will be closing its shops early in the afternoon, and it won't be open, despite its much anticipated $1 sale, on Tuesday. 

Southampton Town Hall and other Town offices closed at 2 p.m., and will remain closed on Tuesday.

Meetings:

• The East Hampton Town Trustees meeting for Tuesday at 6 p.m. has been canceled.
• The Montauk School Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday has also been canceled.
Amagansett School Board will not meet on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be rescheduled.
• The Springs Citizens Advisory Committee meeting originally scheduled for Monday night has been rescheduled for Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at Ashawagh Hall.  
Sag Harbor Village's upcoming meetings have also been postponed. The architectural review board, which was to meet on Monday at 5 p.m., and the planning board, which was to meet on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., have both been canceled.
• The Southampton Town Board meeting for Tuesday at 6 p.m. has been reschedule for Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. 

The National Weather Service forecast for East Hampton has moderated ever so slightly overnight, at least as far as snow is concerned. As of 3:40 a.m., it predicted snowfall totals from a minimum of 17 inches to a maximum of 28 inches. Still, if you figure that the actual amount will end up right in the middle of that spread, that’s a lot of snow.

High and relentless winds remain a main source of concern, with gusts over land reaching 50 miles per hour from the northeast, shifting to the north around sunrise on Tuesday and increasing a mile per hour or two, then turning northwest and gradually tapering off.

As to the temperature, Monday will see the high for the period, of about 31 degrees. The mercury will fall as the storm intensifies then drop more as cold high pressure moves in.

To make things even more dramatic, the weather service says there is a chance of thunder from late Monday until about noon the following day.

In its 4:50 a.m. Monday forecast discussion the weather service explained that the storm is the result of a low pressure system that was moving from southern Appalachians out over the Atlantic early Monday. It is forecast to develop into a northeaster off the Delmarva, Va., coast Monday and move slowly north, stalling off Montauk Point into Tuesday night.

Here’s how the staff at the National Weather Service in Upton see it: “Heavy falling/blowing snow will create blizzard conditions across the entire region. a blizzard warning remains in effect...with potential for sustained winds up to 35 mph on long island...and wind gusts ranging from 40 mph inland...to 45-50 mph most elsewhere. gusts up to 60 mph cannot be ruled out across far eastern long island.”
 

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