New York Snow
Winter Storm Hercules might bring New York as much as ten inches of snow. Reuters

Long Island is forecast to get hit hard by Winter Storm Hercules Thursday night, and mindful of the mess on the highways caused by Nemo last winter, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo took to Twitter to announce he will shut down the Long Island Expressway and state parkways ahead of the snow from 12 midnight to 5 a.m. Friday morning.

Long Island (along with much of the Northeast and New England) could experience whiteout conditions, making driving dangerous. "We don't want people in a situation where they have used their vehicles to commute in the morning and now they can't get home because the roadways are closed," Cuomo said in a phone conference with reporters on New Year's Day, according to Newsday. "Think about mass transit," he added.

When Nemo hit Long Island in February 2013, dozens of cars were stranded on the Long Island Expressway and state parkways, which not only put some lives in peril, but also made cleaning up the highways and parkways difficult for plows. In reference to the roads remaining open during last February’s snowstorm, Cuomo said, "that turned out to be more problematic."

However, in Nassau, County Executive Edward Mangano said he wants the roads to remain open. "Nassau County's workers will be out in force with plows and sanders to ensure county roadways remain open for travel," Mangano said, as quoted by Newsday.

As for the Long Island Rail Road, spokeswoman Marjorie Anders told the news site there are no plans to add service Friday because many commuters are likely to stay home. The LIRR will suspend service only if the third rail were buried in snow, which would only happen if the snowstorm dumped more than 15 inches, Anders said. In snow preparations, antifreeze trains are ready to run on the LIRR tracks.

The snow is expected to start falling at 6 p.m. on Thursday, with 7 to 9 inches being dumped on Long Island from Thursday night into Friday morning, when it will taper off, the National Weather Service said. Making things worse, the temperature will feel like 10 degrees below zero with the wind chill.

Meteorologist David Stark told Newsday the wind and cold temperatures threaten people who go outside with frostbite and hypothermia. Officials advised people to avoid traveling and to bring pets indoors.

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