Annmarie Fertoli, Associate Producer, WNYC News
Annmarie Fertoli is an Associate Producer at WNYC, working with the afternoon news team to produce All Things Considered.
Connecticut and Suffolk County, Long Island, were among the areas hardest hit by the storm that blew through the region Friday night. The storm knocked out power to thousands and dumped almost three feet of snow in some areas.
In Suffolk, cars remained stranded on roads and highways Saturday. Governor Andrew Cuomo said it was making storm cleanup more difficult, as utility vehicles and plows struggled to make their way to where they’re most needed.
“Please stay in your homes. We do not need you on the roads,” Cuomo said, during a news conference from Melville. “It can be deceptive. Just because it’s fine in front of your home doesn’t mean the roads are fine and I can tell you that they’re not.”
In fact, parts of the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway, which closed around 10 p.m. on Friday, remained closed to traffic on Saturday, as workers struggled to clear them.
Charles Lane, WHSU reporter, traveled about 60 miles east on the LIE on Saturday, before it became impassible. He spoke with a number of people who were stranded in their cars overnight. “They’d been waiting for rescue, waiting for tow trucks, waiting for the police to come, and they say no one has come to help,” he told WNYC. “I did talk to the police, and they say they have helped hundreds of people from their cars and that they’re taking them to warming stations around the county.”
Elsewhere, residents were preparing for the task of digging out from the snow. Rachel Sysak lives in Shirley, about an hour and a half east of Manhattan. She said she was shocked to see 30 inches of snow covering her property Saturday morning.
“They said we were only supposed to get around 16 inches here, but we got almost double that,” she said.
Despite all the shoveling she still has to do, Sysak said she considers herself lucky this time around.
“Definitely not as bad as things were when we had Sandy,” she said. “At least in my neighborhood, we don’t have any additionally downed trees, at least that we saw going out in the front area, and we also have power in our area.”
As for the rest of Long Island, LIPA was still reporting more than 7,000 customers in the dark as of Saturday evening. In Connecticut, the situation is even worse; as of 5 p.m., Connecticut Light & Power was reporting more than 36,000 customers were without power.
Despite the heavy snow and outages statewide, WSHU’s Craig LeMoult found most Stamford residents shoveling out in a good mood.
Jim Leichnewr and his kids were taking it all in stride.
“I’ve been looking forward to it ‘cause I’ve been hearing about it for the last two years from my kids, so finally we have some snow to play in, so they’ll be happy, which makes my life happy,” he said. “Everybody’s happy in snow.”
But Stamford only got 19 inches. Compared to other parts of the state, that wasn’t a lot. Further east in Milford, some residents saw 38 inches of snow. Plow Driver Frank Wainwright said he was glad the snow fall’s all over.
“It was terrible,” he said. “It just seemed like it would never stop. Cover an area, come back an hour, two hours later, and it looked like I was never there.”
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Friday that he was requesting a presidential emergency declaration, to help in the aftermath of the storm. He also lifted lifted a statewide travel ban at 4 p.m. on Saturday. But he, and Governor Cuomo, urged residents to remain off the roads.