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Towns and villages continue dig out and warn of ice

A plow clears snow on Saturday, Jan. 23,

A plow clears snow on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, along 15th Street in West Babylon. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

This story was reported by Denise Bonilla, Sid Cassese, Sophia Chang, Scott Eidler, Carl MacGowan, Deborah S. Morris, Ted Phillips and Nicholas Spangler. It was written by Chang.

Towns and villages across Long Island focused on clearing their secondary roads Monday as they continue to dig out from the massive weekend snowstorm.

Road crews pushed mountains of snow back from roadways as snow melted and officials worried about refreezing and ice forming as temperatures dropped. Nearly every community touted clear roads by Monday morning.

Babylon Village roads were clear after near-constant plowing over the weekend, Mayor Ralph Scordino said. “We were proactive with this thing,” he said. “We really kept above it.” Flooding at the ends of some streets near the Great South Bay turned to ice Sunday night, but much of that was starting to melt by Monday afternoon, Scordino said.

In North Hempstead, officials were not issuing violations Monday in the Port Washington Parking District because of the storm, said town spokeswoman Carole Trottere.

Commercial property owners in North Hempstead have until Thursday or Friday to comply with the law, while those responsible for handicapped parking spaces have until Friday to make sure no violations exist, according to town officials. A payloader was working to clear the commuter lots, and snow moved to a small lot on Haven Avenue.

“We have prime conditions for the formation of black ice,” said Robert Sinclair, spokesman for AAA New York. “The snow by the side of the road melts and the water flows out onto the roadway, which is still below freezing, and the water can refreeze.”

Sinclair urged extreme caution for drivers. “It’s very dangerous now,” he said.

In Islip, town officials said 120 vendors were deployed to plow, salt and sand the town’s roads, which were all open by Monday.

“It may appear to some residents that their street has not yet been plowed, due to the warmer temperatures and melting snow. But all streets have been plowed and will continue to be plowed until we are back to asphalt. We are asking for residents’ patience during this process,” said an Islip Town representative.

Huntington highway Superintendent Pete Gunther said all streets in the town have been plowed at least once, and some have been plowed numerous times.

Gunther said cars parked on the streets in Huntington Station hindered plowing, and people shoveling their driveways out onto the street may have left residents with the impression that roadways have not been plowed.

“I apologize to the people and explain the situation, the effort is there, the apology is there,” Gunther said.

This week, Huntington plans to bring crews in at 4 a.m. instead of the regular 7:30 a.m. time to continue the cleanup. “I’ll be using a 50/50 mix of sand and salt, which works very well on hills,” Gunther said. “It’s more effective and cheaper in the long run.”

Hempstead’s town staff have been working throughout the weekend, said spokesman Michael Deery. “Our problems have been pretty much what everybody had. Primarily we had to do a lot of streets a second time after the wind blew snow back on them,” Deery said.

In Glen Cove, first responders assisted residents when the high tide on Saturday flooded one area on East Island, according to city spokeswoman Lisa Travatello.

Farmingdale was focused Monday on clearing the parking lots behind Main Street, which Village Administrator Brian Harty said were open with about 80 percent capacity, and the LIRR parking lot had about 90 percent of the parking spaces clear.

In Babylon Town, Supervisor Rich Schaffer said the town had done at least one pass down every road in Babylon but in the coming days would be trying to push snow away from the curbs.

He said the plowing “was not up to town standards” in the side streets north of Sunrise Highway near Town Hall on Sunday because of an inadequate outside plow contractor who was filling in for a town employee who could not work due to a medical condition.

The matter has been addressed, he said, and later this week the town will have a “post-storm review” to evaluate which plow operators they will continue to work with in the future.

Schaffer said the upcoming increase in temperatures could cause flooding, so the town is advising residents to clear off the tops of drains near their homes.

“By doing that, it just helps yourself and your neighbors, because there’s no way we can go out and clear every drain in town right now,” he said.

In the Village of Lindenhurst, some residents complained that it took too long for plows to come through and that when they did, they only made one pass down the middle of the road.

Joe Bozza, 52, of Walnut Street said he has cancer and was worried he wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital. “They didn’t even come close to the curb,” he said, forcing his wife and son to shovel “all the way out to the middle of the street.”

In Brookhaven Town, Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro said 200 plows had been deployed and that town roads were “very good” Monday, but he acknowledged problem spots such as secondary roads where plows only passed through once.

Snow drifts plagued southeast parts of Brookhaven, thwarting efforts to keep roads clear, Losquadro said.

“All of our main roads are back down to blacktop,” he said.

Residents in some areas of Brookhaven and other Long Island towns grumbled about unplowed roads during a February 2013 blizzard. Losquadro said the town has added new equipment since then.

Bellport Mayor Ray Fell said village crews were removing piles of snow from the Main Street business district. “The roads were in very, very good condition yesterday and today they are even better,” Fell said Monday.

Port Jefferson roads also were open by Sunday morning, Mayor Margot J. Garant said. Early planning helped crews clear roads with little disruption, Garant said.

“We’re getting pretty good at this,” she said. “Even on Friday night, the village was quiet. They stayed at home and let us do our job.”

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