Digging out on Long Island after record snow

John Dispigno takes turns digging out his driveway with his brother, Danny, background, on Route 25A in Oyster Bay, N.Y. after snow plows piled snow along the sides of the road from a blizzard that hit the Long Island, N.Y. area throughout the night on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009. (Kathy Kmonicek)

December 21, 2009 8:56:51 PM PST
Long Island was still digging out on Monday from a record snow storm. Digging out of several feet of snow became a necessity for Barbara Boland and her brother. She says town plows created a mountain of grief for her 70 year old grandmother because she couldn't get out of the house.

It was like that all over Patchgogue, which got a record breaking amount of snow totaling more than 27 inches.

There is so much snow that the Department of Public Works said they don't know where to put it all and it has become a challenge, to say the least.

Businesses on Main Street stayed open, but there wasn't much business people couldn't navigate the snow drifts.

Snow and cold caused problems for Long Island Rail Road customers into the night.

Buses were replacing trains between Ronkonkoma and Greenport due to high snow drifts causing problems for train equipment.

There were 10 to 15 minute delays through Jamaica Station, due to congestion caused by signal trouble in the East River tunnels.

Morning commuters on the Long Island Railroad also experienced long delays.

"The train went slow. We were 10 or 15 minutes late," said Gabriel Decoute.

Twenty-two trains were delayed and four were canceled, mainly due to equipment problems and plunging temperatures overnight.

Some lines were affected more than others. Ronkonkoma experienced up to one hour delays while there were 25-minute delays on the Port Jefferson-Huntington branch.

In some areas where snow fall was the heaviest, blowing and drifting snow slowed trains.

LIRR warned commuters that some residual, storm-related delays would likely continue on Tuesday because of cold temperatures and blowing snow impacting switches and trains.

LIRR had other weather-related problems over the weekend. About 150 people were stranded on a train for hours by a combination of snow drifts, icing, traffic problems and equipment failures due to the weather.

Railroad spokeswoman Susan McGowan says the Ronkonkoma-bound train left Penn Station at 2:53 a.m. Sunday and passengers were still on their way to their final destination more than five hours later.

The train was first delayed by snow and ice and was then stopped by a passenger car that became stuck while crossing the tracks. Then, the train was stopped again when the weather caused the locomotive pulling the train to break down.

Eventually, passengers were put on a second train and sent on their way by 8:15 a.m.