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Snow, Ice Disrupts LIRR Service, Makes For Slick Driving

Snow And Ice Storm Preps

Road conditions could be dangerous as snow and ice fall Wednesday morning. (Credit: CBS 2)

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Snow, sleet and freezing rain is making travel a mess on Long Island.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday for all of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Snow is expected to fall through the morning before changing to a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain.

Nassau and northwest Suffolk are expected to get hit with 3 to 5 inches of snow, with 2 to 4 inches of accumulation expected on the rest of Suffolk County. Another quarter-inch of ice is anticipated, according to the National Weather Service.

The icy mix has made for slick, dangerous conditions.

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“Just go nice and slow and stay in your lane and don’t do anything stupid,” one driver from Oyster Bay advised WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

In Westbury, residents were spending up to 30 minutes digging out from the ice-covered snow in the late morning, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.

The ice tapered off around 10:30 a.m., Brown reported.

It’s just too wet and dangerous to shovel. I could expect to get a heart attack right afterwards if I were lifting this stuff up so thank God for a snow blower,” one man told Brown. “When I move to Florida, I’m putting it on my lawn as a decoration.”

Brown noted most streets were plowed, but said the icy conditions are deceptive.

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Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano urged residents to stay off the roads if possible Wednesday morning until the freezing rain and sleet can turn over to rain.

“This has been quite the year for storms,” Mangano told CBS 2 on Wednesday morning. “We are prepared, we’re well stocked and we’ll continue to make the roadways as safe as possible for our citizens.”

Authorities say a driver fled after striking a Suffolk County police car. At the time, the officer was stopped in an HOV lane while responding to another crash.

The officer was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. The incident happened around 4 a.m. Wednesday on the eastbound Long Island Expressway in Holtsville.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, the New York State Department of Transportation delivered salt to every town on Long Island late Tuesday night in anticipation of this storm.

Town of Babylon Supervisor Richard Schaffer said he doesn’t remember repeated heavy snowstorms like this since the mid-1990s.

“We got a delivery of 80 tons of salt. The better news is that Atlantic, which is the company that has been providing the salt and has had the shortage tells us that they’ve got a major barge delivery that’s coming in,” he told Hall. “It was very critical for us to be able to get through this storm and, of course, critical for whatever else Mother Nature’s going to throw at us this weekend.”

The town is already well over its snow budget for this winter. But Schaffer said a mild winter last year helped.

“The good news is that last year, we didn’t spend everything that we had budgeted so the comptroller tells me that we’ve got about $150,000 from last year that we rolled over to this year,” Schaffer told Hall. “That $70,000 that we’re over this year is covered by than $150,000.”

LIRR service was suspended in both directions between Jamaica and Mineola for about 2 hours starting around 8 a.m. due to a disabled train east of Bellerose.

Customers from the disabled train and the following train were transferred to another train. Those passengers were about 2 and a half hours late, LIRR said.

A commuter who got on the train in Ronkonkoma said the delays were too much.

“At this point, I’m just going to cut my losses, go back, work from home which I probably should have done from the beginning,” he told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

Service was also suspended around 9 a.m. on the Hempstead branch in both directions between Hempstead and Jamaica due to a tree on the tracks west of Nassau Blvd Station. Service was restored around 9:20 a.m. but customers should expect residual delays of up to 20 minutes.

Around 10:15 a.m., service was again briefly suspended in both directions between Hempstead and Jamaica due to additional tree branches west of Nassau Blvd Station. Service has again been restored.

PSEG Long Island is reporting that as of 9 a.m., 3,185 customers are without service.

Outage and restoration updates are posted on www.psegliny.com/stormcenter during severe weather.

Customers can also report power outages by texting “OUT” to PSEGLI (773454).

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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.)