A blizzard forecast to dump up to three feet of snow on Long Island overnight Monday is halting virtually all modes of transportation, including planes, trains, buses, ferries and all roadways.
The Long Island Rail Road will tentatively be shut down at 11 p.m. Monday, New York State officials said. Airline passengers were also grounded from flights in and out of New York Metro area airports, including Long Island MacArthur Airport. Nassau and Suffolk county officials said buses will stop running once the weather worsens tonight—while both Cross-Sound and Fire Island ferries also canceled service.
“This is not a storm to take lightly,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned during a news conference Monday afternoon. “Getting stuck on a road is a real problem and it’s a real possibility tonight and tomorrow.”
The governor, who declared a state of emergency for LI to prepare for the storm, said originally said major roadways will be closed, but later updated that to say that all roads on LI will be under a travel ban. Metro-North Railroad and New York City subway trains are also likely to stop running Monday night. The LIRR is running extra trains before the Monday evening rush hour for commuters leaving work early.
The travel advisories came after the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for LI, where snow accumulations may range from 18 to 24 inches—and possibly as high as 36 inches, which would break the 33-inch record for LI set two years ago. A coastal flood warning was also issued for the blizzard.
“We’re looking at a massive snow removal operation that will take days,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, urging commuters to leave work early and drivers to park their vehicles off the streets so that plows can properly clear roadways. “If you not an emergency…do everything you can to stay off the roads.”
Between state, county, town and village public works departments, thousands of plows are expected to be deployed across the region—plus privately contracted plow operators.
“I hope that you will have heeded our warning and prepared yourself for this blizzard,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said. “Stay home, if you can. It’s certainly not a time to go joy riding. It’s a time only to be on the road if you absolutely have to be.”