Eastern Long Island Sees More Than 2 Feet of Snow

by Associated Press
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bobjudge, Flickr

New York City's Central Park gets 11.4 inches.

A massive winter storm dumped as much as 2 1/2 feet of snow on Long Island overnight and left thousands there without power while New York City residents, despite a foot of snow, counted themselves lucky Saturday.

Police in Suffolk County, on the eastern end of the island, used snowmobiles to reach some motorists stranded on the Long Island Expressway. Ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles and some snowplow trucks as well as passenger vehicles got stuck overnight throughout the area, said Vanessa Baird-Streeter, spokeswoman for Suffolk County.

About 10,000 utility customers, most in eastern Suffolk, did not have electricity Saturday morning, said Wendy Ladd of the National Grid.

Lang said those without power could be restored within a day if crews can get to them, but "access is an issue."

"We have plenty of crews available to do the restoration work, and if we can get to them, we're saying we can get them back in 24 hours," Lang said. "But the issue is whether our big trucks can get to them if streets aren't plowed."

Suffolk County was hit harder than neighboring Nassau County, a relief for communities that were flooded during last October's Superstorm Sandy. The Weather Service said coastal flooding did not create major problems during the new storm.

Meteorologist David Stark said the community of Upton, where the weather service has a headquarters, had 30.3 inches of snow. Several other towns topped 2 feet: Setauket, Smithtown, Port Jefferson, Mount Sinai, Islip, Huntington and Commack.

In Nassau, by contrast, Wantagh reported 11 inches.

County Executive Ed Mangano said Nassau was coping well.

"For the most part, we're moving here in Nassau County, although we ask our residents not to take the roadways unless absolutely necessary," he said.

In New York City, the reading in Central Park was 11.4 inches and 12.1 at LaGuardia Airport. Stark said the city had a longer period of sleet rather than snow, which held town the totals.

But the city was spared the worst of the storm, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

He said more than 2,200 vehicles plowed streets overnight, clearing every major thoroughfare at least once and even most secondary streets. Traffic was flowing easily through most of the city's busiest streets.

"We're in great shape. We're lucky. ... We've dodged a bullet," Bloomberg told plow workers at a sanitation garage in Queens.

Noting that areas to the north and east of the city got hit far worse, the mayor said he would make the city's equipment and manpower available if needed in Long Island, Connecticut and elsewhere.

"We want to make sure we provide whatever they need. When we were in trouble, the country came to our aid and we want to make sure we do the same," he said.

City residents didn't have too much trouble getting around.

"It's not that bad," said carpenter Kevin Byrne, as he dug his car out of its Manhattan parking spot. "It's not as bad as everybody said it was going to be."

But he said he left his shovel at home.

"I'm using a scraper to shovel out, which is not good," he said. "But was anybody prepared? The last two winters have been so mild."

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