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Residents Digging Out After Snowstorm Slams Long Island

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Residents on Long Island are dealing with bitterly cold temperatures and digging out after more than a foot of snow fell on parts of the area.

Snowfall totals reached more than 13 inches in Lindenhurst in Suffolk County and more than 11 inches in Merrick in Nassau County.

CHECK: Alerts | Radar | Airports | School Closings | Cold Weather Safety

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Nassau and Suffolk counties, while several townships on Long Island declared states of emergency.

Unlike another winter storm earlier this month, the Long Island Expressway and other major roadways on the island remained open Tuesday. By midafternoon, many highways across the region were clogged with vehicles moving at a snail’s pace across snow-covered pavement.

PHOTOS: Mid-January Snowstorm

Transportation officials said that although roadways were crowded on Tuesday they were still considered passable, but drivers said they paid the price.

Some motorists said it took them five to six hours to get home after leaving work early in an attempt to avoid driving in hazardous conditions

“Horrendous,” a woman said. “That’s the best way to describe it – horrendous.”

All things considered, this snowstorm was better than the one earlier this month, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

By Wednesday morning, every major road was plowed in Nassau County and even blacktop could be seen in Rockville Centre and Malverne, D’Auria reported.

“Our roadways are open, they’re fairly clear, but you have to navigate them at a reduced speed and watch out for spotty ice patches due to the very low temperatures out there,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said. “You can certainly utilize the roadways here in the county.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said crews would be working Wednesday to “get things down to asphalt.”

“The roads are still covered in snow, but they’re passable,” Bellone told 1010 WINS. “By and large, we’ve been able to stay ahead of the storm. The roads are still slippery and people need to be careful and they should only be out if they need to.”

With snow-covered roads freezing in plummeting temperatures, driving was still a concern Wednesday morning.

There were dozens of spin outs along the LIE in eastern Suffolk County, but no injuries were reported, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

“It’s terrible, you have to drive slowly and very carefully because the road is terrible,” bus driver Miguel Rivera said.

On Long Island’s East End, it’s the wind and the cold that’s making for a difficult snow clean-up.

“Just because it’s so cold,” said Dave, a plow operator.

The Long Island Rail Road is running on a weekend schedule Wednesday. There is no train service on the West Hempstead line and also on the Greenport lines east of Ronkonkoma. Bus service will be provided on those lines.

The rails were plagued with delays Tuesday night, but there were limited problems Wednesday and most commuters appeared to be in high spirits despite the bitter cold, CBS 2’s Jill Nicolini reported.

“As long as my train gets here we’re good to go, ” one woman said.

“All the trains are running on time, the railroads are on a weekend schedule but that’s OK. Last night it took me five hours to get home,” another woman said.

The LIRR will add eight trains for the evening rush hour and service will be restored to the normal weekday schedule starting at midnight. For details, click here.

Fares are off-peak and lower station fares are being charged onboard trains.

LIRR station waiting rooms will remain open around-the-clock through Friday afternoon to accommodate customers waiting for trains during the cold.

Officials closed courts in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island at 3 p.m. Tuesday. The courts will open at 11 am. Wednesday.

Commercial flights at MacArthur Airport were canceled Tuesday afternoon. The airport said commercial service was expected to resume at 11 a.m. Wednesday, but advised travelers to contact their airlines for current flight status.

Now that the snow has moved out, the Town of Riverhead is warning moderate coastal flooding could occur at high tide.

A statement issued by Town Supervisor Sean M. Walter said roads near the Long Island Sound may flood, especially in Wading River and Baiting Hollow.

The next high tide is around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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