MELVILLE, N.Y. — The nor’easter lasting from Friday night into Saturday is expected to be intense, and the further east, the greater the intensity.

“We think Long Island is going to be one of the hardest hit,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference Friday afternoon. “So, 10 to 16 inches across Long Island. If that happens over the course of a few days, you can handle it. [When] it happens in a few hours … that’s when it becomes very treacherous.”

Those are the conditions for which state road crews are preparing.  

The governor declared a state of emergency starting at 8:00 Friday evening. She said the state is deploying more than 2,200 plows and about 400 other pieces of heavy equipment to battle the worst that the storm will bring.

Local leaders put the situation in further perspective.  Steve Bellone, the county executive for Suffolk County, which is expected to be the hardest hit county in the state, was clear in his assessment of what lies ahead.

“We are preparing for a blizzard,” he said. “This is likely to be one of the most significant storms we’ve seen in the last several years here.”

He said that while about 18 inches of snow is expected, “we could see two feet in certain areas.” 

Bellone also warned that storms can be unpredictable.

“They shift, and sometimes they shift for the worse,” he said.  He repeated a message that the governor stressed: staying off the roads is vital.

State and local leaders have warned that they may not be able to get the roads cleared until Sunday, or even Monday, in some cases. The delay in clearing, they said, is due to rapid snowfall during the storm, followed by brutally cold conditions after the snow stops falling.  

The low temperatures, along with high winds, could make roads icy, as well as snowy, which compounds the difficulty of snow clearance, according to Supervisor Bellone.

He and Gov. Hochul said it helps, however, that the storm is happening on a weekend, which should help keep people indoors.

PIX11 New asked Gov. Hochul what her greatest fear was regarding the storm.

“People getting stranded on roads,” she replied.

Hochul is from the Buffalo metropolitan area, which often gets buried under deep, lake effect snow. She recounted how her home once got buried in a seven foot-deep drift.

“That’s taller than I am,” she said. “We could not open our back door.”

Still, she continued, “I knew I was safer in that home than on the highways, where there was zero visibility. That is dangerous.”  

Hochul, and state transportation and police officials warn that those are the types of conditions that Long Island will experience from around midnight Friday through mid-afternoon on Saturday.