Snow, Rain Make Driving Treacherous

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York’s northern suburbs took the brunt of the storm Wednesday.

Newburgh, in Orange County, had 12.5 inches of snow.

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As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the day’s earlier snowfall turned to rain, complicating commutes throughout Westchester, Rockland and the lower Hudson Valley.

One of the biggest obstacles came on I-84, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented a full vehicle ban between the Connecticut and Pennsylvania borders for about six hours, ending around 2:15 p.m. The closure came after many cars slid off the highway, crashed and wound up in ditches in the predawn hours.

However, many motorists didn’t receive word about the I-84 shutdown and found themselves facing a roadblock. A few drivers who gave a state trooper attitude ended up with tickets, Young reported.

“I didn’t know it was closed,” Denny Nikoulopolous told Young. “Had I known, I would have just stayed home.”

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Instead, Nikoulopolous waited at a rest area while state troopers assessed the road conditions ahead.

“It would be right if they let you know before you go on it,” said another stranded driver, Lenny Fagaro. “I came all the way up 684, and there was nothing telling me that it was closed.”

Westchester County police said there was a near whiteout from heavy snowfall on the parkways in the morning.

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Meanwhile, Rockland County Executive Ed Day voiced his frustration with the repeated storms belting area roads this winter.

“I wish Mother Nature would help us out a bit,” he told WCBS 880. “This winter wonderland stuff is great; the kids love it. But for highway budgets, it’s not a very good thing.”

Metro-North service was disrupted during the morning rush, and the railroad was runnning just 75 percent of its normal schedule during the evening.

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Some commuters waiting earlier in the day at the White Plains Metro-North station said the drive to the station took much longer than usual, further complicating their commute.

“A few cars were out there, so I just drove in someone else’s track,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.

In Yonkers, Will Simmons was digging his car out in front of his home on busy Nepperhan Avenue, keeping one eye on the snow and the other on the oncoming traffic.

“It’s a battle,” he told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones. “And I can’t get in a rhythm because every time I do a couple of shovels, I look up and here come some cars. Doing what I have to do. This is living in New York.

Trying to park in Yonkers was also difficult. Rock Davis found a spot on North Broadway, but had to shovel to make room for his car first.

“It’s a little wet, heavy,” he said. “But you know, we’ll make it. We’re New Yorkers. We’re tough.”

Mayor Mike Spano said Yonkers has suspended its alternate-side parking rules through Thursday. However, residents are strongly encouraged to park in their driveway or a garage when possible.

No parking is allowed on designated snow emergency routes.

Meanwhile, in Newburgh, April Cotton was becoming a pro at digging her car out of the snow.

“I dug it out once, and they came through and plowed me back in,” she told Young. “So now I have to dig myself out all over again.”

The snow is so deep prudent homeowners are using roof rakes to lighten the load in anticipation of another possible storm this weekend or Monday.

“”I’ve seen the big snow before,” said John Maher, of Lake Carmel, in Putnam County. “They say we might get a big one on Monday. That might even be bigger than this.”

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