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'Bumper cars' in the snow on LI

A 10-car accident on the westbound Northern State

A 10-car accident on the westbound Northern State Parkway on Commack Road Tuesday morning. (Dec. 14, 2010) Photo Credit: Stringer News

And to think winter doesn't begin until next week.

Overnight snowfall wreaked havoc on Long Island roads Tuesday morning, leading to dozens, if not hundreds, of early-morning crashes, police and emergency officials said - including at least two 10-car accidents.

Both of those multicar crashes were on the Northern State Parkway, police said - one near Commack Road in Dix Hills shortly before midnight, the other near Brush Hollow Road in Westbury.

"It wasn't a lot of snow we got, but it was enough snow that compacted and turned to ice real quick and that surprised a lot of drivers," Dix Hills Fire Department Assistant Chief Tom Magno said.

"It almost looked like bumper cars out there."

Magno said his volunteers handled the 10-car crash in Dix Hills. Most of the injuries were minor. But, he said, six people were transported to Huntington Hospital, most for minor neck and back injuries.

Nassau County police, Suffolk police and state police said fender-benders dotted the Long Island landscape, causing mostly property damage and a few minor injuries.

Most crashes, officials said, were spinouts, caused by icy road conditions and black ice.

In fact, Suffolk police said that at one point overnight there were about three dozen crashes on county roads. And state police said they had several multiple-car accidents, including one on the Robert Moses Causeway in West Islip, in addition to the big pileups on the Northern State.

There were spinouts and multiple-vehicle crashes on the Long Island Expressway in the Plainview area before 6 a.m., and Nassau police reported overnight closures of both the LIE, at Exit 41 in Plainview, and the Roslyn Viaduct because of icy roads. Both were reopened at about 4:30 a.m., police said.

A band of light to moderate snow moved northeast across much of the Island late Monday into early Tuesday, with snowfall at a rate of up to a half-inch an hour at times overnight, the National Weather Service said.

The storm dropped 4 inches of snow in Levittown, 2.9 inches in Lindenhurst, 2.5 inches in Syosset, 1.6 inches in Hicksville and 1.2 in Shirley.

Temperatures hovered around the 20-degree mark.

The National Weather Service said that, despite a brief respite with sunny skies Tuesday afternoon, snow showers will to resume Tuesday night before the skies clear on Wednesday.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the 20s until Thursday, forecasters said.

The Long Island Rail Road reported morning rush-hour delays on the Babylon branch Tuesday. The 6:31 a.m. train from Lindenhurst, scheduled to arrive at Penn Station at 7:33 a.m., was canceled due to equipment trouble, the railroad said.

Other trains were delayed.

The railroad urged customers to "exercise caution while entering and exiting the train." Riders were warned of slippery platforms and staircases.

Snowy and icy conditions caused many cars to spin out on major thoroughfares, including Jericho Turnpike in Huntington and Woodbury, the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, Sunrise Highway and Wantagh Parkway. Some cars stalled on the on-ramps, such as the Southern State Parkway, where traffic crawled overnight.

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