FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Hundreds of plow trucks and other snow-removal equipment from all over the state headed to the eastern end of New York's Long Island on Sunday, where a 27-mile stretch of a major interstate was closed so snow and ice from the massive storm could be removed before Monday morning's commute.
Parts of eastern Long Island were slammed with 30 inches of snow. At the height of the storm, hundreds of cars got stuck on area roads including the Long Island Expressway, which only made snow removal more difficult. Drivers spent a fearful, chilly night stuck on highways, the storm's ferocity taking many by surprise despite warnings to stay off the roads.
More than a third of all the state's snow-removal equipment was sent to the area, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, including more than 400 plow trucks and more than 100 snowblowers, loaders and backhoes.
"The massive amount of snow left behind effectively shut down the entire region," he said.
The expressway was shut down Sunday morning and was expected to remain closed until 5 p.m. The snow-removal trucks had to deal with not only inches and inches of snow, but a layer of ice. They also had to maneuver around abandoned cars.
All known abandoned vehicles were searched, and no one needing medical help was found, a police spokeswoman for Suffolk County on Long Island said Sunday.
It wasn't just the roads that were impacted. Cleanup was under way on the area's commuter railroads, the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad.
Service was restored on two of Metro-North's three lines, said Salvatore Arena, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the railroad. Service on the third line, which runs between New York City and New Haven, Conn., was still out north of Stamford, Conn. On the LIRR, service was mostly restored except on the eastern parts of Long Island.
"A lot of progress has been made," Arena said.
He said the agency would have a better sense Sunday evening of what the Monday morning commute would be like, but added, "We're certainly hopeful for providing more service for Monday morning."
The Long Island Power Authority reported about 4,000 customers without power late Sunday morning, down from a peak of about 40,000.