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Long Island snowstorm updates
Be careful, Long Islanders. It's messy out there.
Snow continues to fall across Long Island, turning most major roadways into parking lots. Stony Brook is currently tops in snow accumulations at 11.4 inches.
We'll keep you updated on the latest information about this storm. Check this live post for updates. (Mobile users can access social media updates via the link below.)
The storm is expected to drop as much as 10 to 14 inches before its over. We're under a storm warning that expires at 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
Traffic and transit
LIRR: At midnight, the LIRR began following a weekend schedule, which it will follow Wednesday. The LIRR will provide bus service for customers on its West Hempstead line and stations east of Ronkonkoma.
Buses: Service on some Suffolk County Transit bus routes that was suspended was to resume at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Nassau bus riders should visit nicebus.com or follow NICE on social media for updates. Suffolk County Transit bus customers are advised to visit sct-bus.org or call 631-852-5200 for service updates.
Airports: For inclement weather information at LaGuardia, JFK and Newark, visit bit.ly/1mqzFDG.
For Islip MacArthur flights, contact the individual airlines.
Allegiant Air: 702-505-8888
Pen Air: 800-448-4226
US Airways: 800-428-4322
TOP SNOW TOTALS
Stony Brook 11.4
North Babylon 11
North Massapequa 10.7
Lido Beach 10.5
Evening Live Updates
10 p.m.: According to a tweet from PSEG Long Island, only four of its 1.1 million customers are without power.
9:22 p.m.: Huntington Highway Superintendent Pete Gunther said as the storm has progressed on track so has his storm response. He said crews were out plowing and will be into the night. He said primary roads have been plowed and terciery roads have had a couple of passes but still need to be cleaned.
"It's still snowing pretty heavily," Gunther said at about 8:45 p.m. "We've gotten about 6 to 7 inches of snow with more to come, but we're keeping up. We pretreated the roads earlier so we are down to asphalt. But it will be a long week with the freezing temps with snow and ice and things freezing. But we'll stay on top of it."
7:15 p.m.: At the Huntington Long Island Railroad station Tuesday afternoon, westbound passengers headed to the Rangers game and a Broadway show were not going to let 14 inches of snow get in the way of their fun, while others were taking advantage of mass transit to stay off the roads.
"I have tickets to see 'Wicked' for like the fourth or fifth time with my family," "Rebecca Witherington, of Port Jefferson, said as she waited for her connection to the city. "My mom is coming in from Connecticut and my aunt and cousin are coming down from the Bronx and I just don't feel like missing it. I have a margarita with my name on it and that's where I am going."
John Gorman, a Floral Park resident who works in Huntington, said he left his car at work and was taking the train to avoid a long, stressful trip home.
"I normally drive, but I left my car in the parking lot at work and am taking the option to take the rail road home," Gorman said. "There are a lot of cars on the road, this will help have less of them. Taking mass transportation helps those people stuck on the road."
Jamaica, Queens resident Kentuan Rouse, a paralegal who works in in Commack, said the office let out early because of the weather. He said he is accustomed to driving to work but, especially in the winter, takes the train, to avoid the bad weather driving.
"It's more convenient, it's comfortable, you don't have to worry about traffic and people on the road, especially when you shouldn't be on the road; it's quicker and more convenient," he said. "You get to stay someplace nice and warm while you wait for the train."
Those coming from the west said the trains were crowded but it goes with the terroritory with commutting, bad weather and early dismissals.
Janett Jarrett, traveling form East New York to her home in Huntington via Jamaica Station, said the trains were packed with barely any standing room. But she was grateful because it was actually a train the railroad had extended to run further east then its original distination from Hicksville.
"I didn't think it would be as packed because it was an extra train," she said. "But I guess with everyone getting out early that's what happened. I''m just glad I got on, because some people couldn't."
Buffalo resident Jovani Uloa was traveling from his home to visit family in Huntington. He said compared to where he lives now this storm is nothing. He gave kudos to the LIRR and the Town of Huntington for their efforts in the storm.
"Huntington is really good at its cleanup and the LIRR added extra trains and that was unexpected," he said. "I got home a little earlier, so that was nice. But the train was really packed, but the ride went smoothly."
Jason Terry, of St. James, said he normally takes the train. He said it doesn't make sense that the LIRR advises its customers to leave work early, then they don't provide enough additional trains in a timely manner.
"I knew the trains were going to be packed, but really?" he said. ""People were trying to get on the trains, standing in the aisle, people were trying to get on at Jamiaca and no one was letting them in. It's frustrating." -- Deborah S. Morris
6:50 p.m.: Commuters coming into the Ronkonkoma train station just before 6 p.m. Tuesday night left a delayed, packed Long Island Rail Road train that left Penn Station at 3:55 p.m., only to dig out their cars in the snow-covered parking lot.
Multiple plows were making their rounds around the train station and in the parking lots, but they weren't fast enough to keep up with the continued accumulation and wind drifting the snow.
Robert Amato, 60, a sheet metal worker from Jamesport, used an ice scraper to remove nearly a foot of snow that had drifted up against his sedan.
"I'm living the dream!" Amato said with a laugh as he finished the cleanup job he said took about 20 minutes. "But the train was only late 15 minutes, given all the nonsense."
Amato said he had a driveway to look forward to shoveling after making the near 40-mile drive home on the Long Island Expressway, which has seen cars at a virtual standstill all afternoon.
"But that's what it is," Amato said, shrugging off the oncoming work. "In the big snow storm last year, I got stuck in the snow on the expressway when a truck flew by me. This year, I just want to make it home."
Frank Scapatone, 47, a construction worker from Farmingville, said his work boots and gear he wore to the construction site in Manhtattan this morning helped keep him warm while he dusted off his vehicle.
"The train was completely packed; we were like sardines in there," Scarpone said with a laugh. "But it's not that bad this time compared to the last storm, the snow seems pretty light." -- Sarah Armaghan
CUOMO DECLARES EMERGENCY. Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Tuesday evening that includes Nassau and Suffolk counties. The state has activated 239 plows, 27 front loaders and 428 operators in Long Island, which includes 30 plows and 71 operators deployed from upstate.
MANGANO KEEPING COUNTY ROADS OPEN. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Tuesday afternoon that this storm is more difficult than the last one, in which much of the accumulation occurred overnight.
"We are asking our residents, where it's practical, to leave work early," Mangano said. "We anticipate it to be a difficult evening drive."
He does not expect to close any county roadways, to close any county offices early or to declare a snow emergency.
All county roads have been brined at least once although he said plowing depends on accumulation totals in certain areas. - ROBERT BRODSKY
GARBAGE PICK-UP CANCELLED. Glen Cove canceled pickups of trash and recycling on Tuesday and Wednesday. Regular trash pickup, but not recycling, will resume on Friday.
Riverhead town has cancelled its Wednesday recycling pick-up. The town will go back to its normal collection schedule for the rest of the week.
The Village of Mastic Beach notified residents Tuesday that garbage pick-up is suspended for Wednesday.
GLEN COVE PARKING ADVISORY. Glen Cove City Mayor Reginald Spinello's office also asked that residents refrain from parking on even numbered sides of their streets to allow first responders and public works crews to pass. Residents are advised to park on odd-numbered sides of the street or in municipal parking lots if they do not have a driveway to park their cars. -TED PHILLIPS
MEETINGS POSTPONED, CANCELLED.
The City of Glen Cove canceled a planning board meeting scheduled for Tuesday and rescheduled a pre-council meeting that will now be held Wednesday night.
The Village of Port Jefferson meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening has been rescheduled to Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.
Tuesday's Long Beach City Council meeting has been postponted to Wednesday at 7 p.m.
HOTLINE ACTIVATED. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has activated the county's non-emergency hotline. Residents with non-life-threatening emergencies should dial 1-888-684-4274 for assistance during the storm.
WARMING CENTERS OPEN. The storm prompted Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to open the following 19 warming centers.
- Glen Cove Senior Center. 130 Glen St., Glen Cove. (Will open at 5 p.m. Transport available for city residents.) 516-759-9610
- Long Beach Public Library. 111 W. Park Ave., Long Beach 516-431-7200
- Temple Beth-El. 570 West Walnut St., Long Beach 516-432-5555
- Village of Massapequa Park Court Room. 151 Front St., Massapequa Park 516-798-0244
- Oyster Bay Town Skating Center at Bethpage. 1001 Stewart Ave., Bethpage 516-433-7465
- Our Lady of Lourdes School. 379 Linden St., Massapequa Park 516-797-5357
- Life Enrichment Center. 45 East Main St., Oyster Bay 516-922-1770
- 5 Towns Community Center. 270 Lawrence Ave., Lawrence 516-239-6244
- Salvation Army. 66 Church St., Freeport 516-378-4557
- Bethel A.M.E. Church. 20 N. Main St., Freeport 516-377-4469
- Wesley United Methodist Church. 619 Fenword Blvd., Franklin Square 516-481-3322
- United Methodist Church. 40 Washington Ave., Hempstead 516-565-1568
- Hispanic Brotherhood Senior Program. 59 Clinton Ave., Rockville Centre 516-766-6610
- Brookside School. 1260 Meadowbrook Rd., North Merrick
- St. Anthony's Catholic School. 80 Anchor Ave., Oceanside 516-764-9792
- Great Neck SCSC. 80 Grace Ave., Great Neck 516-487-0025
- Herricks Community Center. Herricks Rd., New Hyde Park 516-248-3135
- St. Stephen's Church. 9 Carlton Ave., Port Washington 516-944-9654
- Westbury Senior Center. 360 Post Ave., Westbury 516-334-5886
The Town of Hempstead announced that the following warming centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Baldwin Senior Center, 1810 North Grand Avenue, Baldwin
- Bellmore Senior Center, 2000 Bellmore Avenue, Bellmore
- Cedarhurst Senior Center, Village Hall, 200 Cedarhurst Ave., Cedarhurst
- East Meadow Senior Center, 1485 Front Street, East Meadow
- Elmont Senior Center, 138 Elmont Road, Elmont
- Franklin Square Senior Center, 1182 Martha Place, Franklin Square
- Green Acres Senior Center, 400 Flower Road, Valley Stream
- Levittown Senior Center, 555 Newbridge Road, Levittown
- Merrick Senior Center, 2550 Clubhouse Road, Merrick
- Oceanside Senior Center, 2900 Rockaway Avenue, Oceanside
- Rosa Parks Senior Center, 2 Babylon Turnpike, Roosevelt
- Salisbury Senior Center, 460 Salisbury Park Drive, Westbury
- Uniondale/Hempstead Senior Center, 840 Uniondale Avenue, Uniondale
- Uniondale/Merrick Senior Center, 750 Jerusalem Avenue, Uniondale
- Wantagh Senior Center, 1150 Seamans Neck Road, Wantagh
The Town of Babylon also designated Town Hall Annex located at 281 Phelps Lane as a 24-hour warming center.
The Town of North Hempstead will only open warming centers if residents begin to lose power since during a similar storm earlier this month, none of the warming centers the town opened were used, according to town spokesman Ryan Mulholland. The town's 311 call center will be open for extended hours.
WARMBED ACTIVATED. With snow and frigid temperature approaching, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano activated the county's Emergency Shelter Relief Program for homeless individuals and families, WARMBED. Those who are homeless and in need of shelter placement, should call 1-866-WARMBED (1-866-927-6233) between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.
SNOW 'PERFECT' FOR DUCK HUNTERS
The Town of North Hempstead also cancelled several of its senior and parks programs for Tuesday.
As of noon, Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, who is out of town, had declared a snow emergency. Town hall closed at 3 p.m. will close with a delayed opening at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. All town activities are cancelled for tonight, including at the ice rink, through tomorrow morning. Refuse collection canceled for today and tomorrow and HART bus is running its snow route. Paratransit for tomorrow is cancelled.
ISLIP OPENS EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER. The Town of Islip started preparing for Tuesday's snowstorm four days in advance, when brining trucks hit the roads Saturday in anticipation of up to 14 inches of snow, according to Town Councilman Anthony Senft.
About 200 trucks have been out since noon Tuesday, sanding and salting the roads, Senft said. The town has the capability of expanding its fleet to 400 pieces of equipment, including contractors.
The Emergency Operations Center in the Town Hall West building on Main Street in Islip opened at noon today where town officials and department heads have gathered to keep an eye on the storm and coordinate snow removal efforts.
Islip has stocked its salt reserves with 6,000 tons available, Senft said.
"Right now, we're making sure that all children can get home safely from school and clearing all the emergency routes to our schools, hospitals, police and ambulance stations," Senft said.
Although the town has not yet declared a snow emergency, parking restrictions are in effect, including no street parking on emergency routes, Senft said.
No significant tidal surges are expected, Senft said, although town officials will continue to keep in contact with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor any changes. The town's pump trucks and chain saws have been fueled up and ready to go in case of flooding or downed trees.
Three shelters are also able to be opened "at a moment's notice," Senft said, but they will remained closed unless temperatures drop significantly. Islip residents with questions or concerns regarding the storm can call (631) 595-3595 or (631) 224-5800. - SARAH ARMAGHAN
NORTHPORT SWITCHES FROM SAND TO PLOWS. Northport village administrator Gene Guido said late Tuesday afternoon that the highway crew started sanding this morning and have mostly switched over to plowing the village’s 34 miles of roads.
“Those guys basically have it down to a science,” Guido said. -- MACKENZIE ISSLER
SOUTHOLD TOWN HALL CLOSES. Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell announced Tuesday afternoon that Town Hall would be closing at 2:30 p.m. due to inclement weather.
SMIITHTOWN TO PLOW AT 3 P.M. Smithtown Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen said that crews began sanding main roads, schools, fire departments and emergency routes around 9 or 10 a.m. this morning as snow started to accumulate.
"My guys came in at 7 a.m. and we put on all of our plows. Last Friday, we put our spreaders on," he said. "The forecast was off a little bit. It wasn't supposed to start until later ... [but] a couple hours doesn't make a difference."
Jorgensen said he has deployed about 100 highway vehicles and planned to contact about 40 private contractors to plow the roadways, starting at 3 p.m.
Smithtown is expected to receive its first new truck delivery of two 10-wheelers on January 27, said Jorgensen, who said he didn't expect any major equipment issues today with trucks getting stuck in the snow as was the case during a major blizzard last February.
"The weather forecast is talking about whiteouts again. It's going to be similar to the snow we had a couple of weeks ago: Light snow, high winds," said Jorgensen. "I think the weather forecast is saying it's going to stay cold about a week. The snow will be around a lot longer this time."
Jorgensen said that his crews are equipped to handle the snow, and the town has approximately 5,000 yards of sand and salt.
"My barns are full," he said of the two highway yards in Kings Park and Smithtown. "The forecast has been changing…they're predicting 8 to 14 inches across the island. That's not a real big deal. We always handle 8 to 14 inches, especially when it's light and powdery."
Jorgensen said another boon is that the storm is predicted to last for a few hours, adding, "I think the accumulation will be slow. That helps us. We don't get overwhelmed so fast."
Still, Jorgensen said a major challenge will be the high winds. "The wind is not in our favor. It causes the whiteouts and the drifting," he said. "That means my workers have to plow an area three or four times to keep the road open."
Jorgensen said the procedures for most snow storms are the same. " First we sand and salt, then when we get two inches or more, we start to plow."
His advice to residents: "Stay off the road. Let our trucks do the job. Get your food. Get your medicine," he said, adding that highway crews are anticipating early school dismissals. "We'll make sure that all the school areas are maintained before school lets out."
Jorgensen said that workers will receive a break around 12 a.m. or 1 a.m. until about 4 a.m. depending on conditions, but "I know we won't be going home until tomorrow afternoon….safe roads are our priority." - LAUREN R. HARRISON
MURRAY CONCERNED ABOUT COMMUTERS. Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said town crews started salting commuter parking lots at train stations at 3 a.m. The roadways began to be salted immediately after. Most of the towns 1,200 miles of roadways had been salted as of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Murray said.
"We're concerned about the commuting hours," said Murray, adding the snow started much earlier and faster than expected. "This is a full back to reality business and school day. That will provide more challenges for us because it means more cars on the roads."
Murray said it can take six to seven hours to salt all of the town roads at least once, she said.
"The snow plowing operation will continue as needed to the extent that people can cut out any non-essential travel please do that," she said.
More than 225 pieces of equipment are being used, including trucks, plows, pay loaders and salters with at least one operator per equipment. The town has 50,000 to 60,000 tons of pure salt in storage, but usually uses between 7,000 to 10,000 tons per snow storm, town spokesman Michael Deery said.
The clean up effort is between highways, parks, sanitation, water, and conservation and waterways departments, Deery said.
Residents who want to report conditions on their roads can call supervisor Kate Murray's hotline at 516-489-6000. They may also make a report online at the town's website toh.li. -- AISHA AL-MUSLIM
HUNTINGTON DECLARES MANDATORY OT. Huntington Highway Superintendent Pete Gunther said crews began pre-treating the roads with a briny mix at 6 a.m.
He planned to declare mandatory overtime for employees, which gives applicable town agencies the authority to hand over their equipment and staff to the highway department to help clear the roads.
He said plowing will begin when the snow accumulates 3 inches.
Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, who is vacationing in Florida and is due back Thursday, said he attempted to get a flight back Monday and Tuesday morning, but couldn’t. He says he has been in constant phone contact with his department heads and staff.
He said the Emergency Operations Center on Pulaski Road is open and will be through the night and will continue to keep him apprised of the situation. -- DEBORAH MORRIS
RIVERHEAD TACKLING ROADWAYS. The Riverhead Highway Department began pre-treating some of its roads with a brine solution before the snow started falling.
“Not all the roads, we had just one truck. We did the hilly areas and curves and places with stop signs,” said Highway Superintendent George Woodson.
His department has just 30 employees to handle more than 400 lane miles of town roads, and Woodson said crews were out sanding the main roads starting around 10:30 a.m. and expected to be finished around 1 p.m.
He said the workers would take a break and go back out when there was enough snow accumulation to use plows, and the town would continue to work through the night keeping main roads open.
He said back roads and local residential streets would likely be cleared starting around 2 a.m., depending on weather conditions. “We don’t want to have to go back and replow the roads again,” he said. -- MITCHELL FREEDMAN
N. HEMPSTEAD TREATING ROADS. In North Hempstead, crews began treating roads with brine solution at 7 a.m. Tuesday, and by noon, about 35 trucks were spread across the town salting and brining roads, town spokesman Ryan Mulholland said.
By the evening, when the snow is expected to pick up in intensity, the town will dispatch every truck in its arsenal -- about 100 -- to plow streets, Mulholland said.
The town's 311 call center will be open for extended hours on Tuesday, although the exact times were not available by noon on Tuesday. --JENNIFER BARRIOS
AIRTRAIN SERVICE SUSPENDED. AirTrain JFK service is suspended until further notice while repairs are made to the system. A bus bridge will remain in place until service is restored.
NASSAU STORM COSTS. Nassau Deputy County Executive Rob Walker said the county has a roughly $2 million budget to pay for snow costs, primarily to pay for personnel.
The snow storm that hit the region earlier this month cost roughly $200,000 and this weeks storm should match those expenses, Walker said.
Walker said the county has 13,000 tons of salt on hand after using about 4,800 tons during the last storm, he said. - ROBERT BRODSKY