Islip Town officials are cautiously watching weather forecasts calling for the coming blizzard to drop more than a foot of snow on the area, and are making preparations to move into emergency mode for the second time in less than four months.
"We started looking at the storm earlier in the week, probably 24 to 48 hours ago," said Islip supervisor Tom Croci. "Now, we're activating the Emergency Operations Center as of 9 a.m. (Friday) and will begin tracking the storm with our in-house weather service."
Beginning Friday morning, Islip's Highway Department will start its brining operations, coating the Town's roadways with a salt spray. Islip's fleet of snowplows are being prepped and are on standby for when the snow begins to accumulate.
"The nor'easter after Sandy immediately put us into winter weather mode. We've been waiting and preparing a long time for a winter snow event," Croci said.
The supervisor said it is important for residents to cooperate with the Town's efforts. Residents are being urged to stay off the roadways, if possible, and move their cars into their driveways.
"Residents should be careful on the roadways," Croci said. "It's hitting on a Friday, potentially during rush hour. If you don't have to be on the roads, it's a good time to stay inside with family and not be outside."
Town officials are "highly concerned' about the damage Superstorm Sandy caused on area beaches, and are watching closely what further damage could occur as the blizzard approaches the area.
"We've seen higher coastal flooding after Sandy with the new dynamic in the Great South Bay. We are very cautious," Croci said.
Residents who find themselves in need of assistance during the blizzard are encouraged to call the Town's emergency operations center at 631-224-5600. The Town's website will also be regularly updated throughout the storm.