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Treacherous LI commute gets worse with frigid temps at week’s end

Posted: 8:50 PM, Feb 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-08 23:52:52-05

SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. -- Monday's winter storm affected all of the tri-state in some way, but the part of the New York City region most strongly affected was Long Island, which was just digging out from last Friday's storm that hit the island harder than the rest of the region.

Long Island also experienced the true blizzard conditions of high winds, heavy snow and low visibility for hours at a time during the January 23 major storm. Winter weather events are expected to continue off and on thorough mid-week. That, and what's expected to follow it, have some emergency planners urging caution.

The contrasts of the effect of Monday's storm in different parts of the metro area were striking. In much of the five boroughs, there was little or no snow accumulation, except in Eastern Queens, where there may have been an inch of new snow.

Nassau County saw perhaps two to four inches, while parts of Suffolk County, particularly in the North Fork and South Fork, saw as much as eight inches of snow.

In all of the tri-state, there were strong winds, which made for coastal flooding throughout, including on the central north shore of Long Island.

But the combination of winds and snow made for challenging driving.

"It's a little difficult when it's windy," said big rig driver Elizabeth Poling. "Because your trailer and truck will swerve into the next lane [in the gusts]. You've got to take it slow."

She spoke with PIX11 News from a rest and text stop on the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills. The area is among many nearby that have seen at least 40 inches of snow fall in about two and-a-half weeks.

In Brookhaven, homeowner Joe Martinez was shoveling his driveway.

"I've done it twice already," he said, as he watched the snow continue to fall, and saw snow plows ride past with their plows down.

The snowfall on Monday is expected to get covered by another layer within 24 hours. That, combined with the forecast for the end of the week, has emergency managers sending out warnings.

"The snow tomorrow is [anticipated to be] one to three inches," said Joe Williams, Suffolk County fire and rescue commissioner. He also pointed out that on Friday and into the weekend, temperatures are expected to plummet into single digits.

"If it warms up between now and then," Williams told PIX11 News, this week's snowfall could melt and then re-freeze, creating a potentially major roadway hazard: super slick surfaces.

"You really can't see patches of ice," Williams said. "That's our concern until then."