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Snow wreaking havoc on LI roads

The view from a Department of Transportation traffic

The view from a Department of Transportation traffic camera on the Southern State Parkway near Exit 40 Tuesday morning. (Dec. 14, 2010) Photo Credit:

Long Island drivers ventured out Tuesday to find many roads in Nassau and Suffolk turned into ice rinks, covered in icy snow with surfaces so slick police said there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of early-morning accidents.

Luckily, they’ve almost exclusively been fender benders, Nassau County, Suffolk and State police said — the worst of the worst so far resulting in only minor injuries.

But Suffolk police said that at one point overnight there were about three-dozen active crashes on county roads. And state police said they’ve already had one multiple-car accident on the westbound Northern State Parkway in Dix Hills and another on the Robert Moses Causeway in West Islip.

One of the crashes involved four vehicles, the other five, state police said. The worst of it, police said, were some very minor injuries — and, a lot of property damage.

There were spin-outs and multiple-vehicle crashes on the Long Island Expressway in the Plainview area before 6 a.m. and Nassau police reported overnight closures of both the LIE — closed at Exit 41 in Plainview — and the Roslyn Viaduct due to icy road conditions, though both were later opened at about 4:30 a.m., police said.

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement just before 5 a.m. warning drivers about the treacherous road conditions.

“Very icy travel conditions early this morning,” the statement read. “The combination of frigid temperatures and light snowfall will make for dangerous driving conditions early this morning. Anywhere from a trace to around an inch of snow have fallen across the region . . . Motorists are advised to exercise extreme caution.”

The statement included warnings of black ice, as temperatures continued to hover around the 20-degree mark.

The weather service said snow showers figure to continue throughout the day and into the overnight before clearing on Wednesday. Winds are expected to pick up as the day goes on with blustery conditions Wednesday morning. Temperatures are expected to remain in the 20s until at least Thursday, forecasters said. Only then should they break the freezing mark.

The snow falling on Long Island — and expected to leave between 1 and 3 inches in some areas — is from the remnants of deadly, pounding storms that battered the upper midwest and upstate late last week and over the weekend.

Those storms were responsible for at least four dead, authorities reported, and snows collapsed the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis, forcing the postponement of the Sunday NFL game between the Giants and Minnesota Vikings.That game was rescheduled and was played Monday night — at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Long Island Rail Road was reporting delays on the Babylon Branch early Tuesday. The 6:31 a.m. train from Lindenhurst, scheduled to arrive at Penn Station at 7:33 a.m., was canceled due to equipment trouble, the railroad said. Officials said customers would be on the next westbound train five minutes later.

The railroad had already issued a weather advisory for customers, urging them to “exercise caution while entering and exiting the train.”

Riders were warned to be wary of slippery platforms and staircases, anticipate icy roadways and allow ample travel time to and fromLIRR stations, the MTA's statement said.

Snowy and icy conditions caused many cars to spin out on major thoroughfares, including Jericho Turnpike in Huntington and Woodbury, the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, Sunrise Highway and Wantagh Parkway. Some cars were stalled on the on-ramps to highways, such as the Southern State Parkway, where traffic crawled overnight.

A band of light to moderate snow was moving northeast across much of the Island early Tuesday, and snowfall at a rate of up to 1/2 inch an hour was expected, with gusty northwest winds causing blowing snow, the weather service said.

For more information on traffic on state roads, drivers can check with


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