Hercules is here.
The first winter storm of 2014 dropped up to 7 inches of snow overnight on LI and is threatening to dump even more snow on the area through the morning.
The National Weather Service increased its snow total forecast from an original high of 8 to 10 inches to 10 to 12 inches.
Snow will continue to fall Friday morning before tapering off in the afternoon, but blustery conditions will remain. Wind chill values could range from five to 10 degrees below zero and strong wind will continue to be a factor. Forecasters said gusts could reach 36 mph with sustained winds topping off at 24 mph.
A blizzard warning remains in effect until 1 p.m. for all of Long Island.
The Long Island Expressway reopened at 8 a.m. after ” target=”_blank”>officials instituted a driving ban that started at midnight. The ban was previously scheduled to be lifted at 5 a.m. Friday, but it was extended for three more hours.
Still, mostly all major roads on LI are experiencing snow and icy conditions and blowing and drifting snow could further impact driving conditions. Other state roads on LI remain open, though officials are encouraging residents to stay off the roads.
Long Island Rail Road:
The LIRR is running on a weekend schedule all day Friday. The railroad reported Friday morning that some if its branches are already experiencing scattered five to 10 minute delays due to weather conditions. Due to the reduced schedule, LIRR customers will not be able to board a train from the West Hempstead branch. Instead, riders can catch trains at Hempstead, Lynbrook, Valley Stream or the Merillon Avenue station, the LIRR said. There is also no train service between Ronkonkoma to Greenport, but bus service will be provided, the railroad said.
The LIRR warned Thursday that snowfall accumulation of 10-13 inches could force the railroad to temporarily suspend service to make way for snow removal equipment to clear tracks.
The Port Authority reported that John F. Kennedy airport was closed as of 6:37 a.m.
LaGuardia airport’s website was reporting dozen of cancelled or delayed flights Friday morning.
Long Island MacArthur Airport cancelled all flights after 6 p.m. on Thursday, but Southwest was scheduled to resume service at 11:40 a.m.; U.S. Airways Express at 11:50 a.m.; PenAir at 6:40 p.m.
PSEG Long Island was only reporting seven active outages across LI as of 7:30 a.m. The outages were impacting 26 customers.
Many school districts throughout the Island have decided to cancel classes and activities Friday.
Also canceling classes are: Hofstra University, Stony Brook University, St. Joseph’s College, Farmingdale State College, SUNY Old Westbury, Dowling College and Molloy Colege.
For those actually considering shopping:
Due to the impact of the winter storm, Smith Haven Mall will be opening at 12:00 today. Department Stores and Restaurant hours may vary.
— Smith Haven Mall (@SmithHavenMall) January 3, 2014
And if you’re a Bethpage Federal Credit Union Customer: