Several days of dire warnings about a post-Christmas blizzard have county and town officials well-prepped for the worst as the storm picked up intensity Sunday afternoon.
Nassau County has 275 workers on the clock to help clear roads, according to County Executive Ed Mangano.
"We have made sure that we have enough fuel on hand," Mangano said. "We have plenty of salt on hand, plenty of product to clean our roadways. We are all ready to go."
A non-emergency hotline–888-684-4274–will begin operating at 3 p.m., Mangano said, to provide assistance with snow-related situations–such as downed trees or plowing issues–that are not life-threatening.
A Sunday winter storm usually wouldn't be so bad with schools closed and people off from work, but the day after Christmas presents unique challenges, Mangano said.
"We realize many people traveled to see their loved ones during the holiday and today is a big travel day so it is a concern to us," he said.
The usual Dec. 26 rush to the malls to make returns and snag after-Christmas bargains could also cause issues on the roads.
"It's a big shopping day and we'd like nothing more than to have people in the stores helping our economy and of course, generating sales tax revenue for the county," Mangano said.
But on Sunday, the county executive said public safety trumps the dollar with forecasters calling for a possible two feet of snow in some areas.
"We urge you to stay home and perhaps go shopping on Monday," Mangano said.
The Nassau County Red Cross has all of its volunteers on standby Sunday, spokesman Sam Kille said.
"A lot of people are watching the weather and if need be, we are always ready to open shelters," Kille said. "We are hopeful that won't be the case."
Although forecasters have been predicting a storm for days, with supermarkets closed Saturday for Christmas, Kille said residents were flocking to stores Sunday morning to stock up on food and supplies.
If you do have leave the house today, Kille urged residents to make sure to have emergency supplies, expect delays and expect to possibly be stranded. For winter storm tips from the Nassau Red Cross website click here. The Red Cross can be reached at 516-747-3500.
With plenty of snow yet to fall, local officials said they can't yet predict just how bad Monday morning's commute will be.
"We are taking this minute by minute," Mangano said.
The wind factor, with gusts predicted to reach 60 mph, would "dramatically affect our ability to keep roads clear," Mangano added.
The Town of Oyster Bay has also set up a hotline for people to call for issues involving downed trees or wires or blocked roads. Farmingdale residents with these issues should call 1-888-684-4274.
The Town is asking residents to remove vehicles from streets to assist in plowing, and to clear the areas near fire hydrants. Basketball hoops should also be removed from the street.
Oyster Bay officials also announced that sanitation and recycling has been suspended for Monday and will be performed on residents' next scheduled day.
Town Ice rink programs, community and youth activities including senior and shopping trips have been canceled through Monday as have activities at tthe Hicksville Athletic Center.
Until the skies clear, the advice from the across the board, though, is simple: Stay home, stay warm and stay informed.
"Don't venture out unless you absolutely have to," Mangano said.