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Storm fallout means rash of crashes during morning rush

Two lanes on the westbound Long Island Expressway

Two lanes on the westbound Long Island Expressway - the right and center lanes - between Exit 57 and Exit 56 in Islandia.

Slick roads and treacherous black ice conditions caused dozens of accidents Monday morning across Nassau and Suffolk, police said, including at least three crashes in which vehicles overturned.

One person was transported to Nassau University Medical Center after a vehicle overturned on a ramp leading to the Northern State Parkway before dawn, New York State Police said.

Authorities said most of the other crashes appear not to have caused serious injuries - and said most are just fender-benders.

The latest overturned vehicle involved a sport utility vehicle on the westbound entrance ramp to the Long Island Expressway at Exit 66, Yaphank Road, at 10:51 a.m., Suffolk County Police said. Emergency responders initially called for an ambulance but later said there were no serious injuries.

Police said there have been "lots of accidents" in Suffolk, most of them property damage crashes without injuries. A spokesman for the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department said that reports of crashes have been "steady throughout the day."

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The New York State Department of Transportation Web site has reported numerous accidents all morning, with crashes reported on almost every major highway and parkway in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens, among them: the Long Island Expressway, Grand Central Parkway, Northern State Parkway, Southern State Parkway, Wantagh State Parkway and Meadowbrook State Parkway. One of the three crashes involving an overturned vehicle closed two westbound lanes of the LIE between exits 57 and 56 in Islandia, according to Suffolk sheriffs.

The other briefly closed one lane on the ramp leading from the northbound Wantagh to the westbound Northern State. That crash occurred at about 5:45 a.m., State Police said.

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Traffic on the eastbound LIE near the Nassau-Queens border had to contend with a missing manhole cover that caused big delays and made for a dangerous condition between Douglaston Parkway and Little Neck Parkway. It is believed that manhole had been unknowingly moved by a snow plow.

That situation has been fixed, according to the NYSDOT web site.

The NYSDOT had reported a crash in the area earlier in the morning but it was not clear if the two were related.

Other incidents Monday included a minor two-car crash that blocked at least one lane on the eastbound Northern State Parkway near Glen Cove Road and a crash between Exit 36 and Exit 37 on the Southern State Parkway that caused eastbound traffic to slow to a near-standstill.

The commute, in general, was expected to be slow going, State Police said, with black ice in many areas and snow remaining on entrance and exit ramps to many major roads, leading to slick and slippery conditions.

Drivers were being advised to use caution, police said.

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"Our crews have been treating this storm since 5 a.m. Saturday morning," NYSDOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said, "and they're still out there now cleaning up road shoulders and entrance and exit ramps . . . But just because the sun is shining doesn't mean people can resume normal driving conditions. They have to slow down and especially be aware of black ice conditions."

The DOT reported dozens of crashes throughout the morning commute and into late morning, among them: one on the eastbound Southern State at Exit 39, Deer Park Avenue; a disabled truck blocking part of the ramp at Exit 39, Glen Cove Road, on the LIE. Those were all in addition to the three overturned vehicles, a significant number of vehicles classified as "disabled" and a host of minor crashes.

As a result of some crashes, like the overturned vehicle on the LIE in Islandia, responders called for sanders to come in and re-sand the road surface, police said.

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