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Live updates: Winter storm hits LI
UPDATED: 11:40 P.M.
Suffolk sheriff's bus carrying inmates gets stuck
A Suffolk sheriff’s bus taking inmates from Central Islip court to Riverhead jail got stuck about 10 p.m. Friday on the LIE service road in Islandia.
It was trying to get onto the LIE near Exit 58, which is Nichols Road, said Michael Sharkey, chief of staff for the sheriff's office.
“There’s a hill, and they didn’t get up the grade,” he said.
Multiple sheriff’s units were sent to secure the scene, Sharkey said. Garage personnel were dispatched also to get the bus moving, he said, and vans were on their way in case the inmates needed to be transferred.
UPDATED: 9:35 P.M.
UPDATED: 8:25 P.M.
Thundersnow in Middle Island
When Christine Heeren, a professional photographer and self-professed weather geek who says she would like to chase tornadoes in the Midwest, heard from friends on Facebook that they were seeing “thundersnow” in the area, she bolted out of her Middle Island apartment with her Canon 7D in tow to catch it on camera.
Heeren, 43, said it took about 10 minutes before she caught it: lighting amid heavy snow falling followed by the boom of thunder. Here’s her 30-second clip.
Across social media, Long Islanders from Medford to Middle Island are reporting similar experiences.
Did you grab great snow shots? Submit them here.
-- Carl Corry
UPDATED: 8 P.M.
Sewanhaka students stuck in Boston
More than 100 students from the Sewanhaka Central High School District are hunkered down in Boston for the weekend, unable to return to Long Island after cancellation of a Model U.N. conference they were slated to attend at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The students left the Island with their advisers on a charter bus Thursday morning and were dropped off at noon that day, Superintendent Ralph Ferrie said Friday.
The conference — meant to simulate a meeting of the United Nations — was called off a few hours later, Ferrie said. The students are staying with their advisers at a hotel near the Cambridge campus.
“We contacted the bus company to see if we could get a bus up there, but based on the weather forecast, they said it wasn’t safe for the driver,” Ferrie said.
The students are scheduled to return to Long Island on Sunday afternoon, weather permitting.
“We will assess it to make sure the roads are safe,” Ferrie said.
The school district was working with MIT to arrange activities for the students for the next couple of days, Ferrie said. Before the weather became severe Friday, the students already had visited Cambridge.
MIT offices were closed Friday. A message on the university’s website dated Feb. 7 said, “For safety, you should consider canceling your travel plans and hotel reservations” for the conference.
Ferrie estimated that more than 100 students from district schools went on the trip. Their parents were informed Thursday evening that the children would be staying in Boston for the next three days.
Asked who made the decision to send the students on the trip despite storm warnings, Ferrie said, “It was a collaborative decision with the people in the district.”
He declined to say if he regretted the decision, instead saying that he is focused on the students’ safety.
Matt Schwartz, district coordinator for social studies, said human rights was to have been the conference’s focus.
He said the university would offer some limited programs for students who had made the trip, including a delegation from China.
-- Jo Napolitano
UPDATED 7:28 P.M.
Brookhaven, Southampton declare states of emergency
The towns of Brookhaven and Southampton have both declared states of emergency as a result of the winter storm. In separate releases, the towns advised motorists to keep cars of roads to allow for snow plows to run through.
Southampton said vehicles in the way of plows may be ticketed and towed.
-- Newsday Staff
UPDATED: 6:29 P.M.
Couple hit by Sandy cuts Florida trip short to prep for storm
Despite an odd coincidence, Diana Williams, 71, of Lindenhurst, said she holds nothing against Florida and looks forward to her next trip there.
Back in October, she and her husband Gus, 75, were down at their place in Deerfield Beach when they heard that superstorm Sandy was heading toward Long Island. Their thinking? That they would stay put, as the storm would likely veer off at the last minute, she said.
Instead, they learned that their home of 52 years, the split-level where they raised their four children, was badly flooded, with water up to their kitchen cabinets.
Over these past months they’ve been cleaning out and fixing up, with the help of their children and money from their own pocket as they wait for flood insurance to pay up. She said the damage came to about $100,000, including their in-ground swimming pool, which had been raised about three feet out of the ground.
In a holding pattern as they waited for kitchen cabinets to be delivered, Williams said they decided, “Let’s take a break and go to Florida again,” which they did.
This time the news of Friday’s nor’easter inspired them to cut their trip short and “beat the storm,” arriving back home Thursday after a long drive.
They’re as prepared as they can be for this nor’easter, said Williams, with plenty of food and pumps in case of flooding.
“It is what it is,” Williams said. “You can’t do anything about the weather.”
-- Patricia Kitchen
UPDATED 5:23 P.M.
UPDATED 5:10 P.M.
Huntington declares snow emergency, cancels events
Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone has declared a snow emergency, effective 2 p.m., and announced the cancellation of events scheduled Friday night and Saturday at town facilities.
The town has opened its emergency operations center in Huntington Station to help coordinate communications among town departments and fire and rescue services.
Petrone is urging residents to stay off the roads and get cars off the street to make plowing more successful and to allow for emergency vehicle access.
Among the programs canceled are:
* Friday night’s DJ Night at the Dix Hills Ice Rink as well as Saturday morning’s group skating lessons and the afternoon public skating sessions
* The creative arts programs at Lahey Elementary School, Southdown Elementary School, Silas Wood School and Signal Hill School
* Recreation programs Saturday for the developmentally disabled at Maplewood School
* Friday night Pickle Ball at Coindre Hall. The Coindre Hall Gym will be closed on Friday and Saturday
The Recycling Center on New York Avenue will be closed Saturday.
HART Bus paratransit service will not operate Saturday. Scheduled HART bus service is suspended until noon Saturday.
Anyone who wants to report a downed tree blocking a road should call the Highway Hotline at 631-499-0444. For emergencies, call the Public Safety Department at 631-271-2157 or 631-271-6573.
UPDATED 4:45 P.M.
Town of Islip news on airport, rec programs
The last flight leaving Long Island MacArthur Airport was at 3:20 p.m. Friday, and the next scheduled inbound flight is at 6:15 p.m. Saturday night, according to a Town of Islip news release Friday afternoon. Travelers should call their airlines to check for delays and cancellations.
In addition, all Town of Islip Parks and Recreation programs have been canceled for both Saturday and Sunday, including all Islip Arts Council programs and events.
The town said that more than 125 town vehicles are prepared to operate through the storm, with an additional 80 contractors and 205 pieces of heavy equipment to help clear Islip roads. The town will also deploy specialized vehicles equipped with pumps to areas particularly vulnerable to flooding, including the Seaquams Lane neighborhood in West Islip.
-- Newsday Staff
UPDATED 4:06 P.M.
Oil truck overturns, closes road
County Road 83 southbound is closed due to an overturned oil truck between NY 25A to Mount Sinai Coram Road in Mount Sinai. The southbound lane is expected to be closed for three hours.
-- Newsday Staff
UPDATED 3:45 P.M.
Additional closing in Smithtown
UPDATED 3:24 P.M.
Blizzard makes its way to the office
UPDATED 2:25 P.M.
State of emergency in East Hampton Village
According to a news release from the East Hampton Village Police Department, a state of emergency was declared at noon Friday until further notice.
Effective at 8 p.m. Friday, all parking on all roadways shall be prohibited. Any vehicles left on any public roadways could be towed.
-- Newsday Staff
UPDATED 1:40 P.M.
Sisters from Georgia say bring on the storm
Kimberly Reynolds, who turns 21 on Saturday, and her sister Samantha Reynolds, 22, are from just outside Atlanta and are headed from Penn Station to the Ronkonkoma LIRR station to visit their aunt and cousin in Sayville.
They're "kind of excited," said Sam. "We never see snow."
They didn't even know there was a storm brewing until they arrived in New York on Friday.
"Maybe we'll go sledding tomorrow," said Kimberly. "We've never done that."
-- Patricia Kitchen
UPDATED 1 P.M.
Roads starting to take on water
UPDATED 12:50 P.M.
Grocery stores hopping as storm approaches
Like clockwork, the advent of a winter blizzard sent Long Islanders scurrying to grocery stores late Thursday and into Friday.
As they do in preparing for most storms, shoppers stocked up on the staples — bread, milk, eggs and bottled water, along with disposable batteries, snow shovels and deicing material, according to Jim McGinn, a district director for Stop & Shop stores.
McGinn said early indications were that superstorm Sandy appears to have reminded Long Islanders to take their storm preparation seriously.
McGinn said the increased traffic and restocking of stores began Thursday afternoon. His Long Island stores were busy Friday morning, too.
With many schools dismissed early Friday, Stop & Shop anticipates seeing significant pickup in customer volume after 2 p.m., McGinn said.
The supermarket chain prepared for the storm with stocking and restocking, and McGinn said there was an increased demand of up to 50 percent for those storm-related staples.
But perhaps anticipating bundling up on couch and watching a little more television than normal — provided the power cooperates — comfort foods and snacks, including chocolate candy, potato chips, cookies and cake mixes also were moving quickly off shelves, McGinn said.
-- Gary Dymski
UPDATED 12:15 P.M.
Lake Ronkonkoma partially frozen
UPDATED 11:50 A.M.
Get Town of Brookhaven storm alerts
The Town of Brookhaven will be sending out e-mail alerts to residents who have registered on the town's e-mail list. If you are not on the list, you can sign up at www.brookhaven.org. Residents can also sign up for countywide Code Red alerts at www.suffolkcountyny.gov.
-- Newsday Staff
UPDATED 11:30 A.M.
Storm affects Nassau parks, detention center schedule
All Nassau County parks will close at 5 p.m. Friday, and afternoon visiting hours at the county detention center have been canceled, according to Brian Nevin, spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano. Nassau parks will re-open on Sunday at normal operating hours.
-- Robert Brodsky
UPDATED 11 A.M.
Town of Oyster Bay says it's ready
UPDATED 9:35 A.M.
A bit of levity amid the mess
UPDATED 9 A.M.
Islip man takes no chances as storm approaches
UPDATED 8:43 A.M.
Civic association urges residents to 'adopt' a hydrant
The West Birchwood Civic Association in Jericho took a proactive step in advance of the storm, sending out an email to its members asking those who are interested in “adopting a hydrant” to clear snow away from hydrants near their homes in case firefighters need them.
Hydrants covered with snow can lead to delays in fighting fires, as explained in a newsday.com video from 2011. Check it out here.
-- Newsday Staff
UPDATED 8:09 A.M.
Report gas shortages
There have been several reports of long gas lines on Long Island Friday morning. Have you had any issues filling up? Let us know when and where in the comments section below, or email email@example.com.
-- Newsday Staff
UPDATED 7:56 A.M.
Snow emergency declared in Town of Hempstead
Supervisor Kate Murray has declared a snow emergency in Hempstead Town as a winter storm is hitting Long Island and a blizzard warning has been issued for the area.
Under town code, local residents are asked to remove cars from town roadways when a snow emergency is in effect. This provision is intended to clear roads so that salters and plows can maintain as wide a path as possible through local streets. In addition, several town programs have been canceled for Friday.
Specifically, the Town of Hempstead is canceling programs for its Parks and Senior Enrichment Departments for Friday. Also, transportation services will be suspended to Senior Centers. The Town’s ANCHOR trip for people with special needs, scheduled for Saturday, is postponed.
For information on this snow emergency residents can visit the Town of Hempstead website at www.TOH.LI.
-- Newsday Staff