"Local governments ... can make decisions to close roads locally, I can make a decision to close roads across the state if I believe that it's merited by the weather reports that we have. There was no reason for statewide closure of the roads," Cuomo said.
"I can't speak to how the plowing was done in Nassau vs. Suffolk vs. New York City. I just don't know," Cuomo said. "It really was isolated to Suffolk County."
In all, the LIE was kept closed for 27 hours for snow removal, reopening early Monday morning. But even after it reopened, state transportation vehicles were still moving snow from isolated sections of the highway, and entrance and exit ramps remained a slushy mix at midday. Drivers also complained of hard-packed, 6-inch-deep snow and ice in places, creating ice "potholes" that sent slammed vehicles into pockets of blacktop. Fender-benders were seen on several roads during Monday's commute, including one car that flipped over on the LIE.
Despite a steady rain that fell throughout the morning rush hour —ordinarily an ingredient that snarls LIE traffic on the best of days — the roadway was not extraordinarily crowded Monday. Some noted that because 29 local school districts on Long Island were still closed Monday, many people likely opted not to go to work.
Samantha Cuomo — no relation to the governor — complained that treacherous conditions still existed throughout the county. The manager of an adult group home in Miller Place, Cuomo said her typical 40-minute commute was taking her two hours in the storm's aftermath.
"It's horrible, it's an absolute mess," she said. "These roads should be cleared at least once. That's what people pay tax money for. There's no preparation. They knew days prior so I feel like there's no excuse for it."
Anthony Abruzzo, of Wading River, was inclined to give officials a pass.
"I don't think X amount of laws can keep some people from being idiots," he said. "It's Long Island. People do what they want anyway."
Gormley reported from Albany.