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Outdoor workers can't escape LI chill

Icicles hang from the gutter of a Roslyn

Icicles hang from the gutter of a Roslyn Heights home. (Jan. 22, 2014) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

On Day 3 of bone-chilling temperatures, some Long Island workers couldn't duck inside for just a moment to escape Thursday's wind chill of 4 degrees.

Among them were Renee Dedora, a school crossing guard at Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station.

"God forbid, you don't see something; your eyes have to be on your post all the time," said Dedora, who has ushered students across Jericho Turnpike for 10 years. "It's Jericho speedway, not turnpike," Dedora said.

And the below-freezing temperatures mean Tuesday's double-digit snowfall will not melt anytime soon.

At the Sunoco station across from the crossing guard's post, John Vice, 50, said many workers are not willing to endure a winter outside -- though he offers free coffee and buys workers breakfast and lunch.

"It's hard to find help this time of year in this business," said Vice of Rocky Point.

At some stations attendants hope their customers will pay in cash, giving them a chance to warm up by the office cash register. However, the Huntington Sunoco provides a heated booth by its pumps.

Shahid Iqbal, who has pumped gas at this station since 1994, had a ready smile for customers despite the bitter chill.

"We make a customer happy," he said. "It doesn't matter whether or not it's cold, you got to work. I wear a lot of clothes," said Iqbal, 40, of Bellmore.

Long Island could get two more inches of snow Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Upton.

"It may start snowing lightly on Saturday morning," said meteorologist Adrienne Leptich.

Hazardous driving conditions will probably not develop until later in the day, she said.

"The best chance is probably between, I'd say, like noon and 6 p.m. That's when you will probably get a burst of potentially moderate to heavy snow, but it won't be continuous," she said.

Friday's temperature might only hit the upper teens, and it should be in the lower- to mid-30s Saturday, she said.

Thursday's high in Islip was 19 degrees; the low was forecast at 6, she said.

So far this year, Long Islanders have had little need for warming centers as few people have lost power.

Massapequa Park village administrator Peggy Caltabiano was ready to open the courtroom doors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. "We didn't have anybody come in," she said. "I don't think anybody lost their electricity, really, and basically, that's it," she said.

At the Fly-In Hand Car Wash in Farmingdale Thursday, Marcos Ramos, 38, wore three layers -- two shirts and a thickly lined hooded sweatshirt, but no gloves -- as he greeted drivers looking to rinse the dirty snow and road salt from their cars.

Michael Puzantyan, car wash manager, said business was slow -- only about 100 cars came through. On a good day, he said, the wash would see about 300 cars, "with a line out the door."

He blamed the freezing weather and reports that it might snow again soon.

Puzantyan, who wore five layers -- two T-shirts, two sweatshirts and a coat, said: "You need bad weather, then a stretch of three to four days of good weather. Why would you pay $20 if you know it's going to snow again?"

Larry Chow, a student at Farmingdale State College, paid $10, using a coupon, for an exterior wash of his black, 2006 Ford Mustang GT.

"My friend's coming in from Panama and I want to show him around the city," said Chow, 24. "I'm expecting it to get dirty again. Hopefully, not today or tomorrow."

With Patricia Kitchen

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