Sleet stalls morning commute

LIRR, NICE continue to run weekday service as freezing rain heads to South Shore


As icy conditions caused some delays for Wednesday morning's commute, with freezing rain expected to fall later today as reported by The National Weather Service, transit officials are taking necessary precautions to prepare roadways and train lines for a potential ice storm.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a state of emergency for New York Wednesday morning while freezing rain is expected to pour across the state in the midst of the winter storm.

“New Yorkers in affected regions should stay off the roads, check on their neighbors and loved ones, and stay inside their homes until the worst of the storm has passed,” Gov. Cuomo said.

While local governments across Long Island have reported shortages of road salt, the New York State Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority have started moving surplus salt supplies weighing 3,500 tons on about 130 trucks to localities on the South Shore.

To expedite road salt deliveries, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials have waived federal weight restrictions on bridges to allow larger loads of salt to move through the region.

In terms of mass transit, MTA officials said Wednesday that they have closely monitored sleet conditions from the early morning snowfall in the event of it becoming an ice storm — which was expected later in the day, according to the National Weather Service — while weathering weather-related incidents on some Long Island Rail Road trains.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said LIRR officials had suspended service for about two hours on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay branches early Wednesday morning, and encountered some delays on the Hempstead branch when a tree fell on Nassau Boulevard. While the LIRR has still run into some individual delays, Donovan said that trains are back to operating on a regular schedule.

Click here for LIRR service updates or modified schedules.  

The Nassau Inter County Express bus service encountered detours on the N15, N36 and N27 buses early Wednesday morning, according to NICE spokesman Andy Kraus, but all routes were cleared by 7 a.m.

Kraus said that buses were later operating on a regular weekday service schedule and current conditions on most major roadways are not posing “any notable problems.”

As slippery road conditions are expected to continue throughout the day, NICE advised commuters via the company’s Twitter account to anticipate 15 to 20 minute delays system-wide.

Click here for more NICE service alerts throughout the day.