Satellite image of a powerful winter storm hitting Long Island. (National Weather Service)
Satellite image of a powerful winter storm hitting Long Island. (National Weather Service)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced early Friday morning that the driving ban on the Long Island Expressway was extended until 8 a.m. as a powerful winter storm continues to blanket the Island.

Cuomo announced the extension around 5 a.m.—the initial time officials set in place to reopen the expressway.

“Safety remains our top priority,” Cuomo said. “I urge all New Yorkers to take every precaution as we wait out the remainder of this winter storm. Check on your neighbors and loved ones, and only travel if absolutely necessary.”

When first announcing the overnight LIE ban, Cuomo said:  “Once cars become stranded on the road, not only is it a problem for the occupants in the car…it makes it very hard, if not impossible to plow the roads.”

The LIE, and other state roads closed due to the storm, “will be open to all traffic at 8:00 a.m.,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Nearly all major roads on Long Island were experiencing severe snow and icing conditions, according to the New York State Department of Transportation website.

New York State police reported late Thursday a fatal car accident on the Southern State Parkway that appeared to be weather related, according to a State Trooper at the state police station in Brentwood.

The driver of the 2002 Buick Century lost control of the vehicle just after 7 p.m. Thursday east of Exit 39, veered off the road and struck a tree, police said. The driver was not identified pending identification from the Medical Examiner’s office, police said.

It appeared that the massive winter storm arrived as predicted.

The blizzard already dumped more than 5 inches of snow on several communities on LI, according to unofficial snowfall reports by the National Weather Service.

In Suffolk County, there were already five areas with five or more inches of snow: Upton, Sayville, North Babylon, Yaphank and West Islip. Bayville in Nassau County already had 7.3 inches of snow by 4 a.m., according to the unofficial snowfall report posted on the weather service’s website.

The agency also increased its snowfall prediction for Nassau and Suffolk counties from 8 to 10 inches to 10 to 12 inches.

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Rashed Mian has been covering local news for the Long Island Press since 2011. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2010 where he studied print journalism. Rashed, the staff's multimedia reporter, covers daily news for the web, shoots/edits feature videos and writes about civil liberties. He loves Afghan food and sports. Rashed is also a caffeine freak. Email: [email protected] Twitter: rashedmian