The Long Island Expressway overnight. (Jan. 12, 2011)

The Long Island Expressway overnight. (Jan. 12, 2011) Credit: James Carbone

After a brief overnight stoppage, the second huge storm to hit Long Island this winter resumed and was creating a treacherous Wednesday morning commute, the National Weather Service said.

Meteorologist Lauren Nash from the Upton-based service said snow in central Long Island stopped for a time between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. But the “drying situation” in parts of western Suffolk County didn’t last long, with snow resuming at about 4 a.m.

So far, Nash said, the storm is progressing as anticipated. The latest update shortly before 6 a.m. called for up to 15 to 20 inches,  exceeding the totals of 10 to 13 inches for the blizzard on Dec. 26-27.

The MTA's website said Long Island Rail Road trains were on a significantly reduced weekday morning rush schedule, running 15 minutes behind schedule systemwide.

In addition, the LIRR cancelled 23 westbound morning-rush hour trains, with extremely limited train service in the LIRR's diesel territory.

There will be no diesel train service east of Speonk on the Montauk Branch and east of Ronkonkoma on the Main Line to Greenport, the website said.

Early reports are that many parts of Long Island got six inches or more during the storm’s first wave, Nash said, including near the service’s offices in Upton, which got 6.4 inches.

Storm Total Snow Forecast from the National Weather Service ending...

Storm Total Snow Forecast from the National Weather Service ending at 6 p.m. Wednesday Credit: National Weather Service 01/11/11 6:49 PM EST

Plowing in Riverhead started at about midnight, including on Route 58 and in many commercial parking lots, like the Tanger outlet mall and hotels.

Morning commuters can expect some hazardous driving conditions, although police reported overnight just a few traffic accidents.

Traffic cameras at the state Department of Transportation website showed virtually no plowing of Long Island’s major roadways — the Long Island Expressway and the Southern State and Northern State parkways — at 4:30 a.m.

The Long Island Rail Road had planned to send a snowplowing train out to clear tracks, but that strategy was shelved, apparently because of a lighter-than-anticipated overnight snowfall. Switch heaters on the tracks were melting snow to allow trains to reach their destinations, officials said.

Alerts sent by the rail service between 4:10 a.m. and 4:36 a.m. announced the cancellation of at least six morning trains, including two from Huntington.

Felicia Logiudice, 21, a nursing student from Patchogue, was at the Jamaica station Wednesday morning, hoping to get home. She took a bus from Flushing to Jamaica, then planned to take the train to Patchogue.

“I just don't want to get stuck on the train,” she said waiting for a train that already was 50 minutes late. After she arrived at Patchogue, she was looking at a 30-minute drive home from the station. “If I can’t do it, I’ll just sleep here,” she said.

Another commuter at Jamaica, Kemar Brown, 19, of Brooklyn, was heading to Long Beach to look in on his grandmother. Brown said he was stranded three hours on an LIRR train the day after Christmas, because of the blizzard.

“I’d rather stay here [at Jamaica station] than have the train get stuck again,” he said.

"I just want to see my grandmother and make sure she's OK."

The snow also was caused American Airlines and its American Eagle regional carrier to cancel 350 flights for Wednesday, nearly 10 percent of their schedule.

The cancellations chiefly affect several airports in the Northeast, including Kennedy and LaGuardia.

Long Island MacArthur Airport also was closed at 3:55 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said. Southwest Airlines canceled all flights at MacArthur until 2:30 p.m. U.S. Airways is expected to resume flights at MacArthur starting at 11 a.m.

With Bill Bleyer and Emily Ngo
 

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