Snowstorm expected to disrupt public transportation and Long Island airports

The massive snowstorm expected to hit Long Island will affect public transportation this weekend and worsen flights at area airports.

The Long Island Rail Road was scheduled to close overnight, before the worst of the expected storm, and resume service Sunday. It could remain out of service until Monday morning rush hour, the MTA official said Friday.

Speaking at a press conference in Melville alongside Governor Kathy Hochul, Metropolitan Transporation Authority Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said he expected the LIRR to suspend all early morning services Saturday, to avoid operating during the brunt of the storm, which he said could deposit 2 inches of snow per hour on the slopes.

Later, speaking on WCBS radio, Lieber said he expected the LIRR to be “back in action on Sunday and ready for the Monday morning ride”.

The LIRR has a policy of suspending service when 10 inches or more accumulates on the tracks – the threshold at which trains could lose connectivity with electrified third rail.

“The Long Island Rail Road is about to experience what is sure to be the biggest hit this weekend,” Lieber said. “Our goal is to get everyone through the weekend safely and to restore morning rush hour service on Monday.”

Lieber said the MTA was calling hundreds of workers to respond to the storm, some of whom were already spreading salt and sand on LIRR station platforms, walkways and parking lots. New York’s subways should operate normally.

Suffolk County Transit announced it would suspend all bus services on Saturday. Nassau’s NICE Bus advised customers to expect “significant delays and possible detours, particularly along the North Rim”.

Some airlines at Long Island MacArthur Airport began canceling flights Friday in anticipation of the storm. Frontier and Southwest canceled some inbound flights Friday and canceled all flights Saturday, according to Caroline Smith, spokeswoman for Islip Town, which operates the airport.

Preparations for the storm were underway Friday morning at LaGuardia, with outbound planes doused with de-icing fluid, according to the FAA.

On Friday, 209 flights were canceled at Kennedy Airport and 232 flights were canceled at LaGuardia Airport. On Saturday, 731 flights were canceled at Kennedy and 535 flights were canceled at LaGuardia.

The state planned to issue an advisory speed limit of 45 mph on the Long Island Freeway and parkways starting Friday night and restrict trucks to the right lane only on the LIE.

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez, who said she would remain on Long Island during the storm, said the agency would monitor road conditions overnight and Saturday to determine if certain roads are too dangerous to stay open.

Saturday ferries from Orient Point to New London, Connecticut, have been canceled, according to the Long Island Ferry website. The ferry reservation service was due to close at 9 p.m. Friday and reopen at 5:15 a.m. Sunday.

Port Jefferson-Bridgeport, Conn., ferries were also canceled Saturday, resuming at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, according to that service’s website.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the Smith Point Bridge to Fire Island will be closed.

With Nicholas Spangler

Melvin Z. Madore