The Blizzard That Wasn’t Still Packs A Major Wallop

By Long Islander News staff


 The remnants of the snow storm from earlier this week still blanket New York Avenue, although the worst predictions of snowfall were thankfully avoided.

The remnants of the snow storm from earlier this week still blanket New York Avenue, although the worst predictions of snowfall were thankfully avoided.

Although the Town of Huntington in many places was covered in a foot of snow or more this week, the area largely dodged the multiple feet of snow feared in forecasts leading up to this week’s blustery winter storm.

When the white stuff stopped falling Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said that Commack showed 20 inches of snow as of a 10:30 a.m. report. Similarly, near Dix Hills, Deer Park also picked up 20 inches.

Other areas fared better with less snowfall. By 9:30 a.m., Huntington showed accumulation of 11 inches; as of 6:48 a.m. Tuesday, Centerport had 13 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Power outages and felled trees were limited because the snow was light and winds were less intense than predicted, Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone said. That meant a work crew of about 110 town vehicles and another 205 private contractors, along with about 30 pieces of heavy equipment, were able to get right to work at 3 p.m. Monday and plow for 24 hours straight. The crews resumed at 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

Like the state, the town took an aggressive response and prepared for the worst, Petrone said. It appears to have paid off.

“Our teams worked very well with [Superintendent of Highways] Peter [Gunther], and Peter did a phenomenal job in organizing his people and integrating the other town personnel,” Petrone said.

The supervisor credited Governor Andrew Cuomo’s order to impose an 11 p.m. travel ban on Monday for setting the tone, which cleared the way for plows to work.

“When I do it [order cars off the roads], it’s one thing,” Petrone said. “When the governor does it… people were off the roads. That helps tremendously.”

That meant by Monday night, Huntington village’s denizens were all but hunkered down, except for a few hardy souls who kept their restaurants open as the snow began. Commercial life largely went back to normal midday Tuesday.

Among those were Almarco on Wall Street. For owner Mark Salese, staying open no matter what Mother Nature hurls their way has become a tradition. They stayed open on generator power during Superstorm Sandy, so why should snow stop them?

“What am I going to do – sit home, bored out of my mind? I like coming down with my customers and my friends and hanging out, making memories,” he said.

Theotokis Goussis, owner of Skorpios on New York Avenue, echoed those sentiments.

“They [customers] said, thank you for being open,” he said. “I feel sorry for my customers – they want to eat something, they come here.”

Across the street, the pints flowed freely at Meehan’s on New York Avenue, where co-owner Patrick Meehan said they were playing it by ear once they closed up shop.

“I’m going to wake up very early tomorrow morning because I have a lot of shoveling to do,” he said.

After the worst was through, Dix Hills was quiet Tuesday morning, save for the sounds of barking dogs and blowing snow. The neighborhood saw knee-deep snowfall totals.

Despite all the buildup, Dix Hills Fire Department Chief Robert Fling said that the night was “quiet.”

“We went through all of the usual storm prep that we do… We keep people in the firehouse overnight,” he said. “So, [we’re] ready to go, but other than that it was really uneventful.”

In and around the Northport area, cleanup efforts appeared to run smoothly as well.

While most of Main Street was closed for the day, Flemming Hansen, owner of the Copenhagen Bakery on Woodbine Avenue, was at work at 5 a.m. sharp. He had a little leg up, though – he “plowed” his way to the shop, and cleared the lot at the nearby Woodbine Marina.

“It [business] picked up late. The morning was kind of slow,” Hansen said. “A lot of people are walking down.”

For those without a plow and a pickup, village cleanup crews did a yeoman’s job clearing the snow, Mayor George Doll said.

“People always say to me, ‘What are you doing to prepare for [a] storm?’ And I just explain to them that I go to the highway department and ask them if they need anything,” Doll said Tuesday. “These guys know what they’re doing.”

Moving north a bit, Greg Letica, Asharoken’s mayor, also said residents were doing just fine in the storm’s aftermath. Eaton’s Neck residents similarly reported smooth sailing.

“We had no issues with high tides or any kind of problems,” Letica said. “Other than a reasonable amount of snow, this was just another winter storm… We were very lucky.”

Back down south on the mainland, Commack residents on Tuesday said that getting back to normal was already well underway.

“Everybody has gotten it [shoveling] done already,” Bruce Ettenberg, a resident and president of the Commack Community Association, said. “This was a big snow storm, but it was nothing we haven’t seen before.”

Head just a bit more north and the final stop on this snowy trip is Fort Salonga. Debi Triola, a resident and owner of Fashions in Flowers in Northport, measured the snowfall at her home to be about 18-20 inches; “not bad,” she said.

But while the roads aren’t bad, she said, and she was happy about it, there was one part of the snowfall that disappointed Triola.

“I only have one day off,” she said. “I was hoping for two.”