Winter-weary Long Islanders slogged their way Friday through another major snowstorm. Here's how some of them fared.
The timing of this storm avoided heavy overtime costs, but some snow removal budgets are strained, officials said.
Southold has spent about half of its budget, and Supervisor Scott Russell said he'll transfer money from other parts of the town operating budget to make the remainder stretch.
Officials in Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton said their budgets for the year are tapped out. Suffolk County's is also in the red, said public works Commissioner Gil Anderson. The last two storms combined cost more than $1.5 million. "Everyone is in the same boat," he said of the budgets. "This is a long, hard winter."
Other towns and Nassau County reported being still in the black.
State, county and town officials reported clear roads by midday Friday, with no significant problems.
The rains on Thursday provided flooding problems for many areas of Islip, said Rich Baker, acting commissioner of public works, and workers were still using pumps Friday. Towns like Huntington were expecting the wet, heavy snow to yield fallen tree limbs, but none were reported, said spokesman A.J. Carter.
KEEPING POWER ON
Relatively lighter snow than the rest of the Northeast and an aggressive tree-trimming program helped the Long Island Power Authority escape the worst effects of the latest winter storm.
While hundreds of thousands of electric customers experienced outages upstate and throughout the Northeast, LIPA reported Friday that at worst around 1,400 customers were without power (of a total 1.1 million ratepayers).
LIPA's largest outage happened early Friday afternoon when an electrical substation in Hewlett tripped offline, according to LIPA spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter. Service was restored within an hour.
Baird-Streeter credited LIPA's tree-trimming program for the day's low outage numbers. Snow-laden tree limbs falling on wires are one of the major causes of storm outages.
Still, LIPA had extra crews at the ready to restore service if the storm worsened. Baird-Streeter said those crews would remain on "high alert" through the weekend, when more snow is expected.
COMMUTERS' SLOW GO
The snow caused some trouble Friday for Long Island Rail Road commuters, although there were far fewer of them than usual.
LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone said the railroad carried about 35 percent fewer riders during the morning rush than on the typical Friday. Those who did make the trek into the city were met with systemwide delays averaging about 20 minutes in the morning. Of the LIRR's 145 morning peak trains, 102 were late and 11 were canceled.
"We definitely had a challenging a.m. rush hour," Calderone said.
Although some residual delays persisted throughout the evening, the LIRR did not anticipate having to suspend service on any of its lines Friday night. It did, however, cancel four westbound trains during the evening peak period. It also added eight eastbound trains in the late afternoon.
The harsh weather led to the LIRR postponing previously scheduled bridge rehabilitation work on the Long Beach branch this weekend. Trains on that branch will run on a normal weekend schedule Saturday and Sunday.
ONLY A FLURRY OF SALES
At New Best dry cleaners in Port Jefferson, snow has made bad business worse for owner K.J. Lee.
"Not one customer today," he said. "February was so bad . . . I can't pay salaries, and taxes went up."
Days of snow this month have been drying out commerce, getting in the way of economic recovery, retailers said. Some stores closed early Friday, while others never opened, like the Tanger shopping outlets in Riverhead and Deer Park.
Geri Tomko, the buyer for Geri's Hallmark in Huntington Station, had time on her hands, enough to put out the new cards and Easter merchandise. Birds in Easter baskets tweeted the pop hit "We Got the Beat," although the Friday walk-in traffic was offbeat, about 20 people, less than half the usual, Tomko said at 2 p.m.
She was mulling closing early again, as she had on Feb. 11, when as much as 17 inches fell on parts of the Island.
Tomko said she'll recoup only some of the dollars lost: "People do come in [later] that weren't able to come in. But do you make up the whole amount? I don't think so."
Hardly anybody was lying around at the Carle Place La-Z-Boy furniture store, said salesman Manuel Herrera, who opened the store and got orders to close it at 4 p.m.
"If we don't make a sale, we don't make money," he said. "We can draw on a weekly basis on our commissions, so it balances out."