A major blizzard dumped snow on Stony Brook University’s campuses and the rest of Long Island on Saturday, prompting university, town and state officials to take action.
The Nor’easter, dubbed “Winter Storm Jonas” by The Weather Channel, moved into the New York area over the weekend as hundreds of students moved into their residence halls for the start of the Spring 2016 semester.
Several opening weekend events and programs for incoming freshmen and transfer students were cancelled, including the Campus Community Information Fair and the New Student Welcome Convocation, which were both scheduled for Sunday. On-campus dining facilities closed at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The university’s Emergency Operating Center was activated throughout the storm to help the Office of Emergency Management monitor and respond to on-campus hazards. The center monitored Winter Storm Juno in February 2015.
Michael Librizzi, a junior coastal environmental studies major, said he often tweets at the Office of Emergency Management about obstructions caused by snow. On Saturday, he tweeted about the lack of plowing in the parking lot on the west side of Toscanini College, which prevented him from reaching on-campus dining facilities before they closed.
“Sadly, I was not able to get food in time,” Librizzi said. “And now I’ve eaten six bags of Pirate’s Booty.”
Union Commons, West Side Dining and Roth Cafe later reopened from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
All Staller Center events were canceled for Saturday, and the Wang Center was closed on Saturday. Sunday’s Stony Brook Men’s Basketball game against the University of Maine was postponed until Monday at 7 p.m.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency on Saturday for Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as New York City and Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.
The storm will bring 18 to 24 inches of snow to the Stony Brook area by Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasts also warn of winds between 30 and 40 mph with gusts up to 65 mph and the possibility of coastal flooding.
“Unless there is an emergency situation or a critical need, you should not be on the roads,” Cuomo said at a storm briefing in New York City on Saturday morning. “I have been on the roads all through the metropolitan area this morning. They are incredibly dangerous. I don’t care how superb a driver, how big a four-wheel drive vehicle you have.”
At another storm briefing in Melville, Cuomo announced a travel ban on all local and state roads in Long Island and New York City, effective at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“Once the snowfall is over about 3 inches per hour, the plows just can’t keep up with it, and that’s when the situation becomes most dangerous and frankly, that’s a situation that is now occurring,” Cuomo said at the Melville briefing.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant also declared a State of Emergency. The officials called for residents to stay home and to keep vehicles off the roads.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended service on the Long Island Rail Road starting at 4 p.m. Saturday. Suffolk County Transit and Stony Brook Transit suspended all bus routes for Saturday. Updates on university bus routes can be found on the SMART Transit website.
Advisories from the Stony Brook University Office of Emergency Management can be found on the office’s website.
Update: Jan. 23, 2016
This story has been updated to mention the reopening of Union Commons, West Side Dining and Roth Cafe on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.