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Long Island digs out after blizzard-like storm

Dray Clark reports from Oceanside.
January 3, 2014 8:29:13 PM PST
Long Island dug out from almost a foot of snow in places while braving wind gusts as high as 40 mph.

The Long Island Expressway reopened by 8:00 a.m. but driving on the highway and many roads remained difficult during the day.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he made "the right call" in closing the LIE and several other highways overnight because it allowed plow crews to keep up with the falling snow before motorists started their morning commutes.

"We had far fewer people stranded on roads than we had experienced in the past," the governor said.

The first significant snow fall of the winter season brought double digit snowfall totals to some parts of Nassau County. Flooding was also a concern. The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood warning. Thursday night. After high tide on Friday morning, Martha Street in Freeport was under water. People were prepared because Freeport officials had issued a red alert.

"And they said get your vehicles off the street and all your property off the street because you're going to have flooding," Debra Reilly said.

Neighbors say they were expecting several feet of water.

"We were well prepared. We had our cars on the grass. I've lived here 32 years, so it's a way of life for us," Melissa Sagarese said.

The icy cleanup was exhausting.

"It's heavy. Your back goes on you. If you're not prepared for it, forget about it," Robert Weinzierl said.

In other parts of the county, man and machine were reunited. Snow blowers did most of the heavy lifting for people digging out, while others preferred doing things the old school with a shovel.

LIRR trains ran on a weekend schedule as a result of white-out conditions caused by the storm, which also brought gusty winds and swirling, drifting snow. The trains will be on a normal weekend schedule for Saturday.

The trains kept running to get dedicated workers to their jobs in terrible conditions.

"It's very slippery. It's very, very cold. I have like three layers of clothes on, but I'll make it," one commuter told us.

Another commuter traveled from Brooklyn to Long Island to get to his job.

"About a handful, very few (were on the train). A lot of people stayed at home today. I wish I was one of them," Al Jones said.

LIRR station waiting rooms will remain open around-the-clock through Monday afternoon to accommodate customers waiting for trains during cold and inclement weather.

The LIRR pre-salted station platforms, activated switch heaters, deployed snow removal equipment and is operating special anti-freeze trains to coat the tracks with de-icer in an effort to prevent ice build-up on the rails.

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