NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A winter storm that dumped snow and ice across the Tri-State area Monday caused some dangerous driving conditions that lasted throughout the entire day.
As CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported, the problems persisted on the roads late into the night in many areas – and a potential disaster was brewing in the late-night hours.
Roads were slushy and snowy, and combined with the freezing temperatures, it was sure to make for a slippery morning commute.
Travel restrictions were already in place late Monday. In Suffolk County, no cars were allowed to go more than 45 mph, and a speed restriction was in place for at least part of the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.
As CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported, a winter weather advisory was also in place until 9 a.m. Tuesday for the five boroughs of New York City; Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties to the north; all of Long Island and New Jersey; and southern Connecticut.
Even though no more snow was expected overnight, winds were expected to blow at 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph, and ice on the roads was expected to cause major hazards for travel.
On one residential block in Yonkers late Monday, it took three couples, the help of a couple of CBS2 photographers, and bags of kitty litter to dig out two sport-utility vehicles that slid on the street. And they even had four-wheel drive.
Incredibly, the two vehicles ended up inches apart from each other, and from Donald Howard’s car that passed on Carver Terrace near Central Park Avenue.
“The freezing is what’s bad,” Howard said. “Snow doesn’t do damage, but ice does.”
Meanwhile, Virginia Howard hustled to clean off her car before the already-freezing temperatures were to plunge Monday night into Tuesday.
“It’s icy,” she said. “There’s about five inches. We have to push that off then scrape the ice,” Howard said.
Howard learned a tough lesson the last time it snowed.
“Last time, I tried to take the frost off my car in the morning before work — didn’t work,” she said.
Many drivers were sure to face that mess on Tuesday, with cars parked and untouched – buried under inches of snow and encased in sheets of ice.
For cars that make it onto the roads, the morning commute could be challenging. Though plow trucks have been tackling side streets, some have not been cleared – and even some main roadways have been slushy and slippery.
As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, the ice was creating particularly dangerous driving conditions in New Jersey during the evening rush. In Bergen County, driving was a downright dangerous endeavor.
In Mahwah, a fleet of plows traveled up and down Route 17 to keep the roadway clear. But Mother Nature had her own plans, and the blacktop ended up quickly being covered in fresh snow.
“We just passed an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer that was stuck, with a police officer trying to go on the off-ramp, and he was up a hill, so the police officer had to help him,” said driver John Papain.
Twin brothers Keith and Kevin Smith couldn’t get to work at all on Monday because of the storm.
“It was so bad that you couldn’t even get on the roads,” said driver Kevin Smith.
In Paramus on Route 17, there was less snow. But the sleet was just as dangerous, as the deep freeze led to black ice.
Plow operator Justin Kidd had been clearing parking lots since 3 a.m. and was still going more than 12 hours later.
“There was a layer of ice; when I first plowed, it was a couple of inches — and the second time around, there was a sheet of ice, like, maybe that thick over everything, and that’s the most dangerous part,” Kidd said, “because you know, when that freezes up, the car goes everywhere.”
Speed restrictions were in effect on some of the major highways in New Jersey.