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Hempstead Town, Nassau County Prep for Blizzard

Town Highway Department has sanders, plows on call for "tricky" storm; while county readies 175 workers and 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

Friday's impending blizzard creates a "tricky" situation for Hempstead Town Highway crews, says Thomas Toscano, commissioner of highways.

Still, the Hempstead Town Highway Department and Nassau County are prepared to launch an all-out assault on the storm dubbed “Nemo.”

Due to the snow-rain-snow nature of the storm, Toscano said the town's salt trucks will hit the roads early Friday when the first wave of snow falls.

Toscano said he expects that the midday rain will wash most of the salt away. However, he also said the rain should take care of whatever snow may have fallen earlier Friday, along with potentially two more inches of what snow may fall later in the day.

Snow plows will be on the roads when the second wave of snow hits Friday night through the storm's completion Saturday morning, Toscano said.

Nassau County

County Executive Edward P. Mangano said authorities are also monitoring the looming storm and are prepared to commit major manpower and equipment to tackle the storm's aftermath.

The county has mobilized 175 workers who will use 85 salters and plows during and after the storm on county roads. An additional 16 payloaders will be deployed.

"We are well prepared and we have hardened our equipment," Mangano said at a press conference at the county's DPW facility in Hicksville Thursday. "We know this is our job to do this and to provide the essential services the community needs."

New York State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that in anticipation the storm, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated at noon Friday to monitor the storm and coordinate response efforts.

NYS Department of Transportation has more than 1,270 plow trucks and 1,582 drivers standing by to pre-treat roadways with salt brine in advance of the storm and clear snow and ice once precipitation begins. NYSDOT also has 366,500 tons of road salt on hand.

Check conditions before venturing out by accessing NYSDOT’s free 511NY traffic and travel information system, which provides real-time travel information, by calling 511 or visiting www.511NY.org.

LIRR

Long Island Rail Road will deploy fleets of snow and ice-busting equipment to keep outdoor tracks, third rails and catenary wires clear of snow and ice during harsh winter weather.

Track switches will be treated with antifreeze and switch heaters will be turned on to keep switches moving freely so trains can continue to be routed from one track to another. Outdoor steps at all commuter rail stations will be pretreated to prevent snow and ice build-up and shoveled as necessary.

More than 3,000 staff will be on call, ready to operate equipment from snow blowers and chainsaws to heavy trucks and front-end loaders. Equipment includes jet engines mounted on rail cars to blow snow from tracks at high speeds.

Visit http://lirr42.mta.info/ for updates.

LIPA/National Grid

The storm has the potential to cause electrical outages for over 100,000 customers in Long Island, according to LIPA. Among other preparations, the power utility is securing hundreds of extra line crews, tree trimmers, and support personnel to support the more than 500 lineman and 150 tree trimmers on site and ready to restore power.

Customers can report power outages to National Grid through the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) hotline: 1-800-490-0075 or at 631-755-6900 or by visiting their Storm Central website at www.lipower.org/stormcenter from a computer or mobile device. To report via text messaging, text OUT to myLIPA (695472) - pre-registration is required.

Weather Forecast

The National Weather Service in Upton has issued a blizzard warning for Long Island, starting at 6 a.m. Friday through 1 p.m. Saturday. Residents should be prepared for:
  • heavy snow and strong winds
  • snow accumulations of 10-14 inches (with higher amounts possible)
  • 20 to 30 MPH winds, with wind gusts of up to 50 MPH
  • Temperaures falling into the 20s Friday night
  • Visibility of a quarter-mile or less at times
  • Snow and wind will make for dangerous driving conditions with visibility near zero in white-out conditions
  • Downed tree limbs
  • Possible power outages
With reporting by Joe Dowd.

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