NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents on Long Island dealt with heavy snow Tuesday as another nor’easter slams the area.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Afternoon News Conference:
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said some areas had gotten around 11 inches of snow, but he was pleased with the response thus far.
The storm was tapering off on the west end of Suffolk County Tuesday afternoon, but the east end was still getting hit. The west end was hit with an average eight inches of snow and up to a foot was coming down on the east end, Bellone said.
Driveways required some heavy lifting in the path of heavy bands of snow that fell fast and furious Tuesday morning.
“There was no question, I had to stay home and take care of this,” Dix Hills resident Craig Veltri said. “It was a winter wonderland.”
Bellone asked commuters to try to stay off the roads to help facilitate plows getting through. The Long Island Expressway was hard to see, much less navigate. Whiteout conditions were seen throughout Suffolk County, but extra plows brought in from upstate kept it passable.
“The crews have done an outstanding job battling the storm,” he said. “Those major roads are looking good. The crews that have been out throughout the night doing this very difficult work have done an excellent job.”
“The good thing about a March storm is that the temperature generally tends to tick up a little bit when the sun’s out. So, we’re above that freezing mark right now, so you’re seeing the slush and when it’s loose like that, the trucks can push it to side,” Bellone said.
Power outages remained a concern.
“You combine the heavy snow with those high winds – we’ve seen 20-30 mph winds, sustained winds, and gusts up to 45 mph on the east end. When you combine the heavy snow with those high winds, you’re going to get power outages.”
Riverhead was like a ghost town, with businesses closed as residents braced for the brunt of the storm. Luckily, pre-treated roadways and warm temperatures made driving doable with the highest snow totals seen to the east, and a slushy mess to the west.
Bellone said snowy conditions prevented a Suffolk County Police officer involved in a serious crash with a stolen vehicle from being medevaced.
One person had been struck by a snow plow on Sunrise Highway in Islip Terrace, officials said, though the injuries were not said to be serious.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Tuesday “it’s starting to feel like Groundhog Day here.”
“Nassau right now is in full storm response mode,” she said. “This is making for a very messy and hazardous commute and we’re expecting that to continue into the evening.”
The Long Island Rail Road reported scattered weather-related delays as riders faced a messy morning commuter.
“It’s not easy, but it’s not easy for anybody,” commuter Peter Bulla told CBS2’s Marc Liverman. It’s part of living in New York.”
“Usually around March, I’m ready for golf,” West Islip resident Joe Curatolo said. “I’m done with the winter.”
“It’s gonna be a mess today,” another commuter said.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Early News Conference:
On the roads, some drivers lost control, spinning out and crashing along Sunrise Highway in Sayville.
“I’ve seen a lot of accidents already,” plow truck driver Anthony Sapanaro told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
He said the snow is easy to underestimate on the roads.
“It’s just very dense, very heavy, very wet,” he said.
Before dawn, the driver of a car ended up flipped upside down in a ditch just off the shoulder of the Southern State Parkway near Bay Shore. No one was hurt.
The conditions were keeping some residents from venturing too far.
“I only planned on coming here and going back, going home,” Selden resident Joe Lafferty said.
“I try to stay off the road,” said Selden resident Billy Pena. “I think it’s a little crazy. I think the weather is getting nuts.”
The snowy conditions also lead to school cancellations as municipalities across Long Island had crews in place, including help that arrived from upstate to plow the Long Island Expressway.
“So with those additional plow trucks, we will have more than 300 large duty plows,” said Department of Transportation Regional Director Joseph Brown.
In the last two storms, PSEG Long Island restored 220,000 customers. The utility says one of their biggest assets is an investment in tree trimming equipment and technology.
“Technology that enables us to see where the outages are quickly to get the right equipment and the right crews to the right place,” said PSEG Long Island’s Brooke Houston.
The LIRR says it will be focusing its resources accordingly on Suffolk County.