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Red Cross shelter opened in Holbrook

Some are hitting Long Island roads by foot,

Some are hitting Long Island roads by foot, while others brave the roadways in their vehicles. (Dec. 27, 2010) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Red Cross officials say they expect Long Islanders to begin making their way toward an emergency storm shelter in Holbrook Monday morning, after thousands of residents spent the night without electricity.

Suffolk County emergency management officials asked the agency to open the shelter Sunday night in the midst of the blizzard, said Craig Cooper, public affairs supervisor for the Suffolk County chapter of the American Red Cross.

The shelter was set up at Seneca Middle School at 850 Main St. in Holbrook by 1:30 a.m. Monday, Cooper said.

While so far, no one has shown up to the shelter, which has the capacity to house 250 people, Cooper said it's only a matter of time before people are able to brave the icy, slick roads to get there.

"We want to be here for anyone who needs us," Cooper said. "People who have experienced a power loss overnight are probably quite cold."

No emergency shelters have been opened so far in Nassau County, said Sam Kille, director of public relations for the Nassau County chapter of the American Red Cross.

However, the Red Cross did provide food, water and blankets to more than two dozen people who were stranded all night at the Hicksville LIRR station, Kille said.

"For some of these people it's been a very long night," said Kille, who described encountering a scene of frustrated, angry people who had spent the night trying to sleep upright in chairs.

"I'm definitely glad we came here," he said. "Just to see a little smile on some of these faces was nice to see."

Nassau County housed 47 homeless people Sunday night in four shelters in its Operation Warm Bed program, which operates regularly every winter, said county executive Ed Mangano.

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