Winter storm Nemo: Hudson Valley digs out after storm dumps up to 2 feet

Patrick Eldridge of New City uses a snowblower Patrick Eldridge of New City uses a snowblower to clear the driveway of his home on Walnut Court as Rockland starts digging out after the snowstorm. (Feb. 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Angela Gaul

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Residents in the Hudson Valley were digging out Saturday morning after winter storm Nemo dumped nearly two feet of snow in parts of the region.

As the sun rose on the day after 2013's first major snowfall, Bronxville was buried under more than 21 inches, Mount Vernon received at least 17 inches and Warwick was reporting a foot of snow.

But ultimately, the storm passed exactly as forecasts said it would.

With no flights to catch, no schools in session and most people off Saturday, the public largely followed the advice Friday of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who declared a state of emergency, and local officials, who told them to stay home.

"I think a lot of people just looked at Joe Rao and said, 'You're right, Joe, I'll take the day off,'" Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino joked during an appearance on News12, referencing the station's weatherman.

Train service was shut down late Friday, with Metro-North suspending service at 10 p.m. The service will remain suspended until further notice, the MTA's website said as of 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

"Shutting down the system allows Metro-North to secure and protect its equipment and infrastructure from the significant snowfall and high winds expected to hit the region," the agency said in a statement.

State crews were poised Friday night to sweep through major highways overnight, getting an assist from troopers who expected to close large stretches of road so plows could clear them without obstructions. With the street salted and short-term concerns taken care of, most local highway crews were taking the opportunity to recharge before heading back out early Saturday morning.

"They'll be able to get some rest, go home, get a meal and get some sleep before coming back to work," Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said Friday night.

The storm was expected to lose intensity toward morning, with the last flurries falling by 9 a.m., forecasts predicted. Saturday will be cold and cloudy, with temperatures peaking in the high-20s, but there's a chance of snow peeking out before a clear evening, the National Weather Service said.

Nationally, more than 1,400 Saturday flights have already been canceled. The good news? That's fewer than half the number of flights canceled Friday, and airlines offered vouchers to travelers whose flights were nixed by the weather. At Westchester County Airport, only a handful of Saturday flights have been canceled ahead of time, and aircraft were expected to begin taking off and landing at LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports by late morning.

Cuomo said New Yorkers were prepared for the storm and the region would take it in stride.

"This is a serious, severe storm, but we just went through some really terrible storms with Hurricane Sandy," the governor said during a late afternoon news conference. "

After ramping up rail service to help commuters get home Friday afternoon, the MTA said Metro-North trains operated on a reduced schedule overnight. In Westchester County, service on the Bee Line bus system stopped at 9 p.m. Both rail and bus service schedules were expected to return to normal schedules Saturday.

While I-84 remained closed to commercial traffic and State Police warned of "sporadic" closures on the Taconic State Parkway and Interstate 684, Westchester County's famously flood-prone parkways -- including the Hutch, Saw Mill, and Bronx River -- remained open to traffic.

'BE A NEIGHBOR'

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Astorino urged able-bodied residents to check in on their neighbors and offer a hand clearing walks and driveways.

"For your neighbor who might be elderly or have a heart condition, be a neighbor. If you can, go out and shovel for them," he said. "This is not weather to fool around in. It's heart attack weather."

In Rockland County, plows took to the roads early but couldn't keep up with the rapidly accumulating snow. Routes 59 and 303 in Nanuet and Orangeburg were peppered with disabled cars, while a layer of snow covered the Palisades Interstate Parkway, forcing drivers to crawl along at less than 20 miles per hour.

A Home Depot on Route 59 in Nanuet saw a rush of customers Friday afternoon, store manager Stephen Kovacs said.

Edgar Lozano, 44, a construction worker, knew he had to come get a shovel when he saw the inches of snow piling up around his Stony Point property.

"I help my neighbor out and I let him use my shovel in the last storm and he took it and never gave it back," Lozano said with a laugh. "I have a big driveway so I have a lot of work to do when I get home."

He balked at the $40 price tag for his shovel.

"It's a lot for a shovel but when you need it, you need it."

With Timothy O'Connor, Tom Zambito, Sarah Armaghan, Karl de Vries, Ron Bittner, Elizabeth Daza and The Associated Press

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