The blizzard that dumped more than 2 feet of snow across Long Island this weekend shattered decades-old snowfall records, stranded travelers for hours on a commuter train and sent cars and buses sliding off roads.
In New York City, where the storm didn’t reach blizzard force, city residents went sledding and shopping, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg encouraged New Yorkers to go to museums or a Broadway show.
Officials urged motorists to stay off roads on eastern Long Island, where 26.3 inches of snow had fallen by Sunday at the National Weather Service’s facility in Upton. It was a record since measurements were first taken at that location 60 years ago, meteorologist Jim Connolly said. The old record was 23.0 inches in 1978, he said.
Several other towns got around 2 feet of snow, including 25 inches that fell in Holtsville, 24 in Bridgehampton and 23.9 in Islip. A picturesque 10.9 inches of snow fell in New York City’s Central Park.
Some stores remained closed, while others ran out of supplies.
“Sorry, we are out of ice melter and snow shovels” read a sign taped to the front door of an East Hampton hardware store.
Police reported several minor injuries from fender-benders across the region, as cars slid off snow-covered roads. A plow truck driver was found dead in his truck with the motor running at 8 a.m. Sunday, but it was unclear whether his death was related to the storm. The driver, whose name wasn’t released, had not been involved in a crash, police said.
The storm canceled 1,200 flights in and out of the region’s three major airports, caused massive commuter train delays and stranded 150 people on a Long Island Rail Road train for more than five hours.
The Ronkonkoma-bound train left Penn Station at 2:53 a.m. Sunday and was first delayed by snow and ice, then was stopped by a passenger car that got stuck crossing the tracks.
Road crews were working around the clock to clear roads by Monday.
Joseph Williams, commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, said abandoned cars on the Long Island Expressway were being towed Sunday to make room for snow plows.
In New York City, Bloomberg said 2,400 workers were manning more than 2,000 snow plows and salt spreaders overnight. Most stores and cultural attractions were open Sunday and public schools would be open Monday, Bloomberg said.
While some New Yorkers grumbled as they dug their cars out of the snow, others dusted off sleds and skis and enjoyed the winter wonderland.
Albert and Amy Taylor of Manhattan were cross-country skiing Sunday morning down the bike path along the Hudson River. “The only treacherous thing is the manholes,” Albert Taylor said. “Other than that, it’s great.”
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.