MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – As the second wave of yet another winter storm was poised to sock Long Island, many are still digging out while plow drivers work around the clock to clear roadways.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through 6 a.m. Friday. The NWS forecasted 8 to 12 inches of snow in New York City and surrounding suburbs.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Long Island, along with New York City and the mid-Hudson Valley.
In Bayville, some snow drifts were so high residents couldn’t leave their homes.
The small north shore town in Nassau County was hit with 14.6 inches of snow, CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported. With more snow on the way Thursday night, that number is sure to go even higher.
The snow tapered out around early-afternoon Thursday, changing over to sleet and rain. The precipitation is expected to switch back to snow Thursday night into Friday.
CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan said snow had begun transitioning to freezing rain at around 11 a.m. in Stewart Manor.
With the first shot of precipitation on the ground and more on the way, Long Island Rail Road officials prepared for a delayed evening commute.
“They should expect weather-related delays, there’s not question about that. They should give themselves some extra time, anticipate that their trip home is going to take longer than usual,” LIRR spokesman Sal Arena told WCBS 880 on Thursday afternoon. “Every train we always run in the PM peak, we’re running. And it’s somewhere close to 130 trains that will be heading out of Penn Station and Brooklyn Atlantic Terminal as well as Long Island City and Hunters Point. So we’re doing the best we can but in these circumstances, there’s just no question that these weather-related delays will continue.”
The LIRR operated diesel service only on the Huntington/Pt. Jefferson Branch for Thursday evening’s PM peak service. All electric train service on the Huntington Branch was terminated at Hicksville.
As a result, six electric eastbound trains were canceled, and seven were terminated at Hicksville.
The seven regularly scheduled diesel trains did make local stops from Hicksville through Port Jefferson, the LIRR said.
The LIRR said the reason for the diesel trains was because snow and ice accumulated over the electrified third rail, preventing safe operation of electric service.
The precipitation, combined with gusty winds, is making for some difficult travel conditions.
“My advice is if you don’t need to be on the roadways, you shouldn’t be on there right now. It is a very dangerous condition out there,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano told 1010 WINS on Thursday morning. “The snow looks like a couple inches more than forecasted. It’s that heavy, dense snow which creates a problem.”
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported from Huntington, a driver in an SUV hit a snowbank and flipped onto its side around 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Driver Toni English said she was uninjured in the incident.
Near Farmingdale State College, 8 to 10 inches of heavy, wet snow had fallen by mid-morning Thursday.
Some roads in the area remained unplowed. Drivers who did make the effort – mostly in SUVs – were maneuvering through the tire tracks ahead of them.
Like many campuses in the region, all classes were canceled at the college.
Most public schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties were closed Thursday due to the storm.
PHOTOS: Thursday’s Snowstorm
In Levittown, residents had a hard time staying in front of the storm.
Joanne Angelino told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera that she had to shovel three times within six hours. “They kept saying a couple inches – 8 to 10 – but it’s a lot more. I know I shoveled and it was like over 6 inches after I shoveled this morning.”
While residents work to dig out their homes and cars, it was another long day for those responsible for clearing this latest winter mess off of Long Island roadways. In Melville, crews were out plowing early and often.
“You keep going around and around as many times as you can with the plows down, you throw some salt down and you just work with the traffic and just have to keep at it. Persistence, that’s the key,” New York State Highway Supervisor Brett Becky told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reports. “It makes for a long day for the guys. With the changing over to rain, it might actually give us a little break in the middle of the day so it’s actually a godsend.”
As TV 10/55’s Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, snow plows ruled the roadways Thursday and left some unhappy residents in their wake.
Some Long Island residents said plows were slow to get to the side streets.
“It doesn’t seem like they’re plowing too much, but they’re probably having trouble keeping up,” said Port Jefferson resident Chris Sanchez.
But when they finally did get around to those side streets, they dumped much of the snow onto nearby parked cars and already dug-out driveways, Rose reported.
Some snow plows working strip mall parking lots partially blocked or obscured entrances, making it tougher for customers to get into businesses that managed to stay open despite the storm.
“We’re the only ones out in the parking lot and we tried to clear out the sidewalks but it got covered back up in 30 seconds max,” said Three-ever Mancia, of All Island Dry Cleaners in Huntington.
Plow drivers, however, have their own gripes about other drivers. “They’re always getting in our way and in the parking lots, it’s a lot of work,” plow driver Keith Rogers told Rose.
Officials on Long Island say they have warm beds available for homeless individuals and families.
Mangano said the Nassau County Winter Homeless Hotline is operating around the clock. People needing a warm place to stay can contact the hotline at 1-866-927-6233.
The program offers a place to stay between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays. The shelters also remain open from 6 p.m. Friday until Monday morning.
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