New York Prepares for Blizzard Amid Warnings of Closings and Hazards


Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that the storm approaching on Monday was likely to be one of the biggest to ever strike New York City, and he urged people to stay indoors to avoid powerful winds, low visibility and “treacherous” road conditions.

The National Weather Service, which issued a blizzard warning for the greater New York City area, forecast gusts of wind up to 50 miles per hour and snow accumulation of “at least one to two feet.”

But Mr. de Blasio said the storm could bring up to three feet of snow, beginning with flurries late Monday morning, and that the heaviest snowfall would probably come Monday night into Tuesday morning.

A Big Snowfall in the Forecast0125-web-SNOWFALL-Artboard_2 (1)

Schools will be open on Monday but are likely to close on Tuesday, Mr. de Blasio said. Alternate side of the street parking was canceled, along with the city’s annual count of the homeless population, which had been scheduled for Monday night.

“My message to New Yorkers is to prepare for something worse than we have seen before,” the mayor said on Sunday afternoon at a Sanitation Department garage near West 14th Street. “Now is the time to get ready for this extreme weather.”

Officials described the storm as gathering force and said that it could topple power lines and disrupt transportation. On Sunday evening, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement that the storm could close the New York State Thruway and the Long Island Expressway, and that train service on Metro-North, PATH and Long Island Rail Road lines could be halted before Monday’s evening commute.

While saying that he was confident that city agencies would be ready to handle the storm, Mr. de Blasio emphasized the potentially hazardous nature of the snowfall and repeatedly warned those living in New York City not to underestimate it, saying: “Whatever safety precautions you take in advance of a storm take even more, be even more cautious.” He added: “Expect a lot of challenges and delays.”

Status of Airports, Trains, Schools and Other Services in New York City

What is open and closed as the New York region prepares for a blizzard.





Subways: OPEN

As of Sunday night, no delays were issued for city subways or PATH trains, but Gov. Cuomo warned that the subways might shut down before Monday evening’s rush hour.


City buses are expected to operate with normal service on Monday morning. Port Authority will remain open, but travelers should contact bus carriers for specific cancellations and delays. There will be select cancellations on New Jersey Transit buses, with all New Jersey Transit tickets being cross-honored through Wednesday.


New York City public schools are open on Monday, but field trips and all afterschool activities, including youth and sports programs, have been cancelled. Evening adult education classes have been cancelled. Mayor de Blasio indicated that public schools will likely be closed on Tuesday.

Commuter Rail: OPEN

All New Jersey Transit tickets will be cross-honored through Wednesday. Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road might shut down before Monday evening’s rush hour. Amtrak plans a normal Monday schedule.

Roads: OPEN

Highways including the New York State Thruway and the Long Island Expressway might close before rush hour on Monday afternoon. Residents are urged not to drive. Alternate side parking is suspended on Monday and Tuesday in New York City.


Hundreds of flights have been pre-emptively canceled at the region’s main airports. Travelers should contact their airline carrier to confirm flight status. Some carriers are waiving fees to change or cancel flights. USAirways flights on Tuesday into Long Island MacArthur Airport have been cancelled.

Mr. de Blasio said the Sanitation Department had scheduled 12-hour shifts, with 2,400 employees on each shift, working from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Nearly 500 salt spreaders will go out before the snow. After two inches of snow have fallen, the city will deploy plows to clear about 6,000 miles of road. The sanitation commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, said that 2,000 plows from her agency would be available, along with 242 from other agencies.

In other preparations, nearly 500 Department of Transportation workers began treating bridges and overpasses, and emergency crews filled more than 1,000 potholes. And the city’s Office of Emergency Management was coordinating with dozens of local, state and federal agencies.

2006: The snowiest storm in the city’s history.  Central Park reported 26.9 inches of snow.CreditFrances Roberts for The New York Times

The agency would be ready to open temporary shelters and had arranged for the use of “high-axle” vehicles owned by the National Guard that could be used to assist emergency medical technicians navigating snow drifts.

All city buses will be equipped with snow tires or chains by Monday afternoon, Mr. Cuomo said. Bus service will proceed on Monday morning as usual, but Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials may make scheduling adjustments as the storm progresses.

1888: A blizzard brought 21 inches of snow to city streets. CreditThe New York Times
 The authority will begin storing subway cars underground on Monday night, Mr. Cuomo added. De-icers and snow throwers will be deployed and extra crews will be on duty.

Metro-North and L.I.R.R. official26storm-03-articleLarges were preparing for the possibility of altering or halting service, an M.T.A. spokeswoman said on Sunday.In addition, she said, all L.I.R.R. waiting rooms would be kept open 24 hours for the duration of the storm.

2010: The city’s most recent heavy snowfall, when 20 inches fell.CreditJoshua Bright for The New York Times

Other state agencies, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the State Police and the National Guard will be on alert, Mr. Cuomo said.

Both the governor and the mayor acknowledged that public transportation could be slowed or halted. “This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of New York City so, yes, there could be delays of everything,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters.

Hazards could persist even after the abatement of “blizzard-type conditions.” Mr. de Blasio said people should avoid the city’s parks in the immediate aftermath of the storm because the weight of snow could snap tree branches and send them plunging to the ground.

According to a list displayed by the mayor, the snowiest storm in the city’s history, measured by accumulations in Central Park, came in 2006, when 26.9 inches of snow fell. A blizzard in 1947 dropped just over 26 inches, and one in 1888 brought 21 inches.

The most recent heavy snowfall came on the day after Christmas in 2010, when 20 inches fell, paralyzing the L.I.R.R., stranding ambulances and trapping commuters for hours on an A train that was stuck on an icy section of elevated track in Queens.


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