Nightly News   |  February 09, 2013

NY, Long Island work to clear roads

On the Long Island Expressway, dozens of cars were stuck in the snow, and police officers worked through the night to free people from cars and get them to safety. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>>> while new york city , where we are, were spared a crippling punch from this storm, that was not the case just to the east of us on long island where hundreds of drivers got stuck in some pretty deep snow . nbc's anne thompson is in holtsville, new york , tonight. ann, good evening.

>> good evening, lester. this scene is being repeated up and down a 40 mile stretch of the eastern section of the long island expressway. vehicles littered the roadway, and the exit ramps, making clearing that much more difficult. 63 miles east of manhattan, long island 's busiest highway turned into a vehicle wasteland.

>> everyone knew this storm was coming. why hasn't -- why weren't they prepared for it?

>> reporter: here and throughout long island , dozens of drivers needed to be rescued. some suffering from hypothermia after spending the night in the bitter cold. four wheel drive helped but it wasn't always enough where new york looked like alaska. cars abandoned friday night were plowed under or drifted shut. a trucker discovered before dawn , exits were no route to safety.

>> they don't see the highways.

>> reporter: more than two feet of snow proved to be too much for mere plows. this job required the heavy equipment. comparatively, new york city weathered the blizzard well.

>> oh, wow!

>> reporter: returning to its hurried pace by midday.

>> we've gotten through this, looks like we dodged a bullet.

>> reporter: on long island , it was nature in contrast. her beauty, and her frustration. this abandoned jeep at 1:30 this morning.

>> i got home. my wife had to throw blankets on me. my clothes were all wet. wrt with a crew of friends he worked to rescue his vehicle.

>> go, go.

>> reporter: a day of inconvenience, ending with small victory. now, tonight local police are urging residents to stay off the roads. the roads are quite icy. the state has sent some 800 snow plows here to this section of long island . but they actually have extra crews. so new york 's governor has sent those extra crews to massachusetts and connecticut. as for power outages, there are about 8,000 households in the state of new york that are without power tonight. most of them are here on long island . lester?

>> pretty remarkable pictures there tonight, anne, thanks.