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Heavy snow still causing problems on LI

January 13, 2011 2:17:04 PM PST
As much as two feet of snow fell on parts of Long Island, causing problems for people trying to get anywhere.Wind created barriers on the rails and the roads. LIRR train service east of Ronkonkoma was temporarily suspended on Thursday morning due to high snow drifts. Customers were being accommodated by bus.

In Riverhead, crews spent the morning clearing Northville Turnpike where strong wind overnight covered the road in snow drifts three and four feet high. Several cars got stuck on that road overnight.

"It was a white out. You could not see anything up here. All this snow had nowhere to go but right here. It's a never ending battle," Bill Byrnes of Riverhead Public Works said.

Parts of the North Shore got about two feet of snow, and large piles of snow are just about everywhere you look.

Further west, in the Town of Islip, workers put the finishing touches on a busy day of snow removal.

All in all, a massive amount of snow has been cleared off the roads.

They got about 14 inches of snow.

"The roads are cleared, we worked from the wee hours of the morning," Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan said.

Now they turn their focus from the snow to the ice.

"You have a lot of moisture on the road," said Paul McElearney, a plow operator.

The danger, of course, is that it freezes. As snow melts during the day, black ice can form at night. It's something a lot municipalities are warning motorists to watch.

Paul McElearney's a private contractor, and after four decades of plowing and salting he knows what to expect after a major snow storm.

"There's a bunch of icy patches, it's not going to melt any," McElearney said.

His truck is spits out a combination of sand and salt. It's the right mix to give your car's tires a little something to grip.

Officials are also urging motorists to clean off their cars. One lawmaker says drivers who leave huge chunks of snow and ice on their vehicles after a snowstorm should be subject to a ticket by the police.

Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper has proposed a bill to require drivers clear their vehicles. He says five other states, including Connecticut and New Jersey, have such laws. He hopes enacting the law in Suffolk County will inspire state lawmakers to follow suit.

Fines for those who fail to clear their vehicles would start at $75. They could rise to as much as $1,500 if the flying snow and ice causes an accident that injures people.

Cooper says his priority is not to collect fines, but to keep people safe. The proposal will be taken up by the county legislature next month.

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