The first nor'easter of the season is hitting Long Island Saturday, bringing the potential for up to 4 inches of rain in spots, strong winds gusting as high as 60 mph, and moderate to locally major coastal flooding, forecasters said Friday evening.
"As is typical with strong coastal storms, we will get a trifecta of bad weather,” said Bill Korbel, News 12 Long Island meteorologist.
Long Islanders could be waking up to rain at its most intense, said Faye Morrone, National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton. Then give it a couple of hours to mid-morning or so, and it will be the winds that are peaking, she said.
Heavy rain of 1 to 2 inches is expected through the afternoon, with potential for some spots on the East End to see as much as 2 to 4, the weather service said. That means widespread minor flooding of areas such as low-lying roads. And a flash flood watch is in effect through Saturday afternoon, the weather service said.
A coastal flood warning is in effect from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for the Island’s southern and eastern bays, as well as ocean shorelines and areas of the North Shore. A coastal flood advisory is in effect from 10 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday.
Forecasters were seeing a low potential for major flood impacts for some spots “along the most vulnerable Great South Bay and Jamaica Bay locations,” the weather service said.
Major flooding is described as presenting a “significant threat to life and property.” In such cases evacuations could be needed for the most vulnerable coastal areas, as vehicles can be submerged and flood-prone homes and businesses can be destroyed by inundation, the weather service said.
Beach erosion is also a concern, with breaking wave heights of 8 to 12 feet predicted along the oceanfront.
A high surf advisory is in effect from 6 a.m. Saturday to 2 p.m. Sunday.
“We are already all set and prepared,” said George Gorman, Long Island deputy regional director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
A wall of sand, rebuilt a week and a half ago to protect main areas of Jones Beach, is still in place, he said. That was in preparation for any impact from the remnants of Hurricane Michael.
In addition, sandbags are at the ready there and at other beaches, to be put down if flooding comes up to a certain point, he said.
A high wind warning is in effect from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday for eastern Suffolk, which could see winds from the east/northeast of 25 to 35 mph, gusting up to 60 mph on the Twin Forks. A wind advisory is in place for the rest of the Island from 1 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday for winds from the east of 20 to 30 mph, gusting up to 50 mph.
That could lead to some downed trees and limbs, meaning scattered power outages, the weather service said.
"You may want to tie down some of that furniture" if you live on the South Shore or East End, said Rich Hoffman, News 12 Long Island meteorologist.
With an eye to those winds, “additional personnel will be available throughout the storm to respond to and restore any outages caused by the storm as quickly and safely as possible,” said Elizabeth Flagler, spokeswoman for PSEG Long Island.
Ongoing preparation to help prevent storm-related outages includes activities such as trimming trees away from power lines and “enhancing technology to detect outages,” she said.
With Long Island and the Mid-Hudson Valley forecast to see the heaviest rain, added resources and personnel are being deployed to those areas, including department of transportation staffers, as well as tree crews and traffic signal crews, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.
Rain should lighten up by the afternoon, perhaps with lingering showers by evening, Morrone said. High winds could hang on through early afternoon, before starting to lighten up.
As for Sunday? The day is to be “much quieter,” Morrone said. Warming up to the high 50s, it will still be on the breezy side, even with some breaks of sunshine by late morning.