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Blizzard Clobbers Tri-State Area: More Than 3 Feet In Some Areas

(credit: Richard Valenti)

(credit: Richard Valenti)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tri-State Area residents woke up Saturday morning to the aftermath of a brutal blizzard that left more than 3 feet of accumulation in some areas.

CBS 2′s Lonnie Quinn reported the blizzard warning was discontinued for the New York Metro area in the midday hours, but windy and dangerous conditions still persisted.

CBS 2 Meteorologist John Elliott reported early Saturday that snow was coming down at a rate of 1 inch an hour in some sections of eastern Long Island before tapering off. Gusty winds also created a major menace.

Snow totals in many areas were staggering, with accumulations exceeding 3 feet in parts of Connecticut. A state of emergency was in effect for New York and Connecticut.

At a news conference from Suffolk County on Saturday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo again said Long Island bore the brunt of the storm statewide. Cuomo said nowhere in the state was hit as bad as eastern Long Island.

“I want to applaud the first responders who were heroic last night, that there were no fatalities that we know of. God was kind last night because it was a terribly dangerous situation,” said Cuomo.

Hundreds of cars were left stranded along the highways and some other roadways as people were commuting home Friday evening as the storm rapidly picked up intensity, officials said.

“The snow just swallowed them up,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said on Saturday afternoon.

Cuomo also urged residents all across the area to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to travel.

“We do not need people going on the roads,” he said.

Bellone said towns across the county are dealing with complex, difficult issues in cleaning up from the blizzard.

“I’ve never seen anything like this one,” said Bellone.

Plows have been unable to operate normally because of the stranded cars lining many roadways and highways, though that problem figured to lessen as Saturday wore on. Cuomo said plows can only go so far before a tow truck has to be called in to remove the disabled cars.

“The weather man was right on this one,” said Cuomo.

About 130 plows from Nassau County, New York City and other municipalities were en route to Suffolk to help clean up the two feet of snow blanketing parts of the county.

Suffolk has sustained “significant damage,” due to the blizzard, Cuomo said at his morning news conference.

Watch Gov. Cuomo’s News Conference:

Still, Cuomo noted that Connecticut and Massachusetts were hit much harder than New York.

In response, the governor announced that New York State is sending plow equipment, personnel and utility crews to the two states to help each dig out.

State officials urged residents to stay home if they do not have to be outside. In addition to keeping safe, officials said it will allow first responders and crews to more easily do their jobs.

The highest total in New York City was 15 inches, which was seen in the Bronx. Central Park saw just shy of a foot, at 11.4 inches.

The National Weather Service office in New York City confirmed totals of more than 30 inches in parts of Long Island early Saturday, as measured at the front steps of the NWS office in Upton.

Medford had racked up 33.5 inches, Upton 30.9 inches, Huntington 29 inches, East Setauket 28.5, and both Stony Brook and Yaphank 28 inches.

The blizzard even produced thundersnow on Long Island.

In Connecticut, some areas saw over 3 feet of accumulation. Snow totaled 38 inches in Milford, 36 in Hamden, 34.3 in New Haven, and 34 in West Haven.

More than 40 inches fell in Shelton, just west of New Haven.

A travel ban in Connecticut was lifted at 4 p.m.

New Jersey saw more modest totals, but many areas still saw in excess of a foot. River Vale saw 15 inches, Verona and Chatham 14, Highland Lakes 13.2, and Bloomingdale 12.8.

Connecticut Light & Power reported 36,000 customers without power, and the Long Island Power Authority reported 10,700.

Con Edison announced midday Saturday that it is sending crews to Connecticut to help with power restoration.

LINKS: Con Edison | NYSEG | Long Island Power Authority | PSE&G | Jersey Central Power & Light | Atlantic City Electric | Orange & Rockland | Connecticut Light & Power | United Illuminated

Blizzard conditions forced sections of two major highways to shut down in Suffolk County. Hundreds of motorists found themselves stuck on the Long Island Expressway between exits 63 and 68, and had to spend the night in their cars.

The story was the same on many roadways in Suffolk County, where emergency vehicles and even snow plows ended up getting stuck in the snow.

In North Bellport, a fire truck actually got stuck in the snow, and firefighters had to dig it out.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said while New York City escaped the worst of the storm, the city still deployed a massive response. All primary streets were to be plowed by the end of the day Saturday, Bloomberg said.

Secondary roads were largely done, and tertiary roads were also mostly done – due in part to outside contractors who were brought in, city officials said.

Transportation was brought to a standstill in many areas.

Metro-North resumed service on its Harlem and Hudson lines, while service on the New Haven line remained suspended.

NJ TRANSIT restored northern bus service Saturday morning. Service will be restored on the Morris & Essex and the Montclair rail lines at noon. This includes Midtown Direct service along the Morristown Line.

The Long Island Rail Road is providing limited two-hourly service to and from Farmingdale on the Ronkonkoma Branch, and to and from Huntington, Babylon and Port Washington due to snow accumulation and third rail icing conditions. Service on all other branches is suspended.

For those looking to escape the area altogether, Newark Liberty International Airport was closed overnight.

The airport remained shut down Saturday morning and was trying to get open by noon, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported on CBS 2. The airport technically opened at 3:30 a.m., but there were no planes to get anyone out.

Every flight at the airport until noon was canceled.

Meanwhile, airlines at John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports began resuming some flights at 9 a.m. Saturday. Flights are expected to resume at Stewart Airport in the afternoon.

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