Nor'easter Slams Long Island

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Dangerous Road Conditions For Much Of Day As Nor'easter Slams Long Island

March 13, 2018 - 10:24 am

YAPHANK, N.Y, (WCBS 880) -- Many schools were closed Tuesday as parts of eastern Long Island were hit with as much as a foot of snow, in the third nor’easter in 10 days.

Road conditions quickly deteriorated as heavy, wet snow pounded the area Tuesday morning. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said as of the 1 p.m. hour, the snowfall was tapering in western Suffolk County – but snow was still falling on the east end.

Up to a foot of snow was expected on the East End of Long Island once the storm moves out. But some areas in the western part of the county also saw significant snowfall as bands of precipitation hovered overhead.

Dix Hills, on the west end of Suffolk County, saw 11 inches of snow, Bellone said.

Bellone said snow removal crews had done an “outstanding” job, and the snow tapering off on the west end of Suffolk County made their efforts easier.

He told WCBS 880’s Michael Wallace on Wednesday afternoon that the commute should be fairly smooth for those heading out in the evening rush.

“The western end of the county, the major roads are cleared down to asphalt, which is great. LIE looks great. They did an outstanding job there,” Bellone said. “So things will be a little bit slow. People should take it slow. But they should be able to have a good commute home – it’ll just be a little bit slow.”

New York State Department of Transportation Regional Director Joe Brown said Gov. Andrew Cuomo had sent numerous plows into Suffolk County from upstate municipalities – including Watertown, Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton.

The plow trucks were being used continuously on local roads, and the DOT was watching very closely as in advance of the afternoon rush – particularly with a foot of snow or more on the East End, Brown said.

On the roads Tuesday, WCBS 880's Sophia Hall says visibility was the greatest issue.

"All of a sudden, especially with the wind, it'll just hit your car a certain way and you just can't see," Hall reported.

But she said residents should also be aware of heavy snow and ice falling from trees and utility poles.

"It happened to me at a stop light and part of the bottom of my windshield got cracked a bit," Hall reported. "It sounded like someone was throwing snowballs at my vehicle."

Weather conditions were blamed for at least one serious accident. In West Babylon, a Suffolk County police officer was injured in a head-on crash with the driver of a vehicle that was allegedly stolen.

A pedestrian was also struck by a snow plow in the Suffolk County police 3rd Precinct Tuesday, and suffered injuries that were not described as serious, Cameron said.

The wet, heavy snow also meant more power outages for the area, Bellone said.

Bellone told Wallace that there had been a major jump in power outages in the county on Tuesday, from just a few hundred up to nearly 7,000.

“But they’re making significant progress on those, and you know, they’ve gotten it down into about 4,000 at this point, so they’re continuing to make their way through them, and hopefully, we’ll have everybody restored soon,” Bellone said.

Most of those who lost power were on the East End of Long Island or in the Town of Brookhaven, Bellone said.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Monday also said power outages were the chief concern.

“The ground has been so saturated; so many tress and limbs have already come down. The biggest concern with wind gusts is always power outages,” she said Monday afternoon.

Bellone said the recent nor’easters have also taken a toll on the county budget, but safety comes first.

“We’ve been hammered by these nor’easters. No doubt, the budget’s taken a hammering also,” Bellone told Wallace. “You know, the bottom line is that public safety is the top priority, so you know, if we have to move some numbers around in the budget to make sure we keep these plows at work, that’s exactly what we do, because we have to make sure people are safe out there.”

A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 p.m. in Suffolk County ended at 4 p.m. in Nassau County.

Suffolk County Transit bus service is suspended.

The Long Island Rail Road was reporting only minor weather-related delays during the morning rush.

Meanwhile, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services was closed Tuesday, but those in need should call the department’s emergency services number at (631) 854-9100, Bellone said.