Reporting Kathryn Brown
NEW YORK (CBS New York) — If you’ve lost count, the sixth major snowstorm of the new year is pounding the Tri-State area.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a weather emergency and said that a decision on whether to close public schools will be made at 5 a.m. Thursday. Some schools across the Tri-State area closed early Wednesday.
City officials said that any car found blocking roadways or impeding the ability to plow streets may be towed at the owner’s expense. Alternate-side parking is suspended until further notice.
During December’s blizzard, no snow emergency was called, and abandoned cars delayed the progress of plows. Hundreds of buses and ambulances ended up stuck on unplowed streets, and city leaders took heavy criticism for their slow work.
On Long Island, homeowners were being told to get their cars off the road and put in their driveways because plows can’t do a good job of clearing the roads if vehicles are parked in the street.
“We try to get close to the curbs as we can as we do plow but when cars are parked there it just allows the driver of the plow to move out more into the street and then people complain the streets aren’t plowed correctly,” Rick Gimble, director of emergency management for the Town of Islip, said.
The stormy weather was causing some airport delays and cancellations Wednesday morning. There were also delays at Newark Liberty International Airport and one hour delays on arrivals at LaGuardia Airport.
Motorists across the Tri-State area are facing limited visibility and slick conditions from snow in the first wave. The speed limit has been reduced on the New Jersey Turnpike and at Delaware River crossings.
Motorists are being advised to clear their cars of snow and ice before driving. On Monday, a New Jersey woman was injured after ice from a passing box truck smashed through the windshield of her Jeep Wrangler. Drivers are also encouraged to winterize their vehicles, check tire treads, replace cracked or brittle windshield wiper blades, and wear warm clothing in case their vehicles break down.
The streets and sidewalks in Bergen County were pre-treated with a briny mixture of salt and water that resembles pickle juice. It costs just seven cents a gallon compared to $63 a ton for salt, and any cost-saving measure is worth a shot these days.
The state of New Jersey has already capped out its $20 million snow budget and New York City blew through its $38 million budget before the first of the year. Still, with yet another storm here, the job has to get done somehow. “Our first job is to make sure that the snow gets removed. It will get removed,” Gov. Chris Christie said.
NJ Transit buses and trains will cross-honor passes Wednesday and Thursday. Click here for more traffic and transit updates.
The National Weather Service placed the entire Tri-State under a winter storm warning, set to expire Thursday morning at 4 a.m. for New Jersey, and 6 a.m. for New York and Connecticut.
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