RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island got a heavy dose of Mother Nature Friday night and is expected to be buried under 12 to 16 inches of snow by the time the massive winter storm moves through the area on Saturday.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning, which remains in effect until 1 p.m. Saturday.
As the snow intensified Friday night, the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway in Suffolk County were closed in both directions. Only emergency vehicles were being allowed on the roadway.
The Town of Brookhaven has declared a State of Emergency due to the severe winter weather.
The situation in Suffolk County was downright dangerous Friday night. The snow was coming down hard for hours.
Officials warned drivers to stay off the roads, but the heavy snow started falling in Suffolk County as 9 to 5ers were still making their trek east. The result was countless cars in ditches and stuck in snow drifts.[cbs-olapic gallery_id=”602473429″][/cbs-olapic]
Hundreds of cars stopped on the highway. Frustrated drivers were seen desperately trying to remove ice from fogging windshields.
The snow was like cement for drivers in Central Islip, piling up at what felt like a record pace. Cars were stuck everywhere you turned.
Tom Sweeney said the roads were a nightmare.
“There’s cars stuck up and down the highway, which makes it impossible to do anything…making it more dangerous for us,” he told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.
Snowmobiles were the only ones who had no issue getting around.
Officials also suspended service on the Montauk Branch of the Long Island Rail Road east of Speonk for safety reasons. LIRR released an advisory, asking customers to take care while traveling during the weather and allow for additional travel time.
Many Long Island officials were also concerned about widespread power outages. For this storm, the Long Island Power Authority handed control over to National Grid.
As if Friday night LIPA was reporting about 10,000 power outages. Most of those were on the east end of Long Island in Suffolk County.
“We have crews on island that are ready to respond to the outages. They’ve been responding throughout the evening as these outages have occurred and we have equipment stationed around the island, we have poles we have wires so that crews can respond as quickly as possible to restore service,” said Karen Young, spokeswoman for National Grid.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano urged residents to use caution during the storm.
“Our county workforce will be working hard to keep the streets safe and you can help by keeping cars off the road,” Mangano said in a statement.
He said residents with non-emergency calls can use 1-888-684-4274 for assistance.
“Keep 911 open for life-threatening calls,” he said.