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Tri-State Area Braces For First Snowstorm Of 2014

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Residents across the Tri-State area are preparing for a winter storm that will bring snow and frigid temperatures to much of the region in the first week of the year.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from 6 p.m. Thursday through 1 p.m. Friday.

A blizzard warning has also been issued on Long Island for Nassau and Suffolk counties starting at 6 p.m. Thursday and lasting until 1 p.m. Friday.

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“The conditions will really be right for a significant snowfall,” CBS 2′s Elise Finch said.

Snow could begin to fall overnight Wednesday, but the full storm isn’t expected to hit until later Thursday. As much as six to eight inches of snow could fall with the higher amounts on parts of Long Island and in Connecticut.

National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pollina said parts of the metropolitan New York area could have near-blizzard conditions. He advises that people should stay home, but if they must travel, they should allow themselves plenty of time to reach their destinations.

New York City is likely to see three to seven inches and issued a snow alert Wednesday. The city’s Office of Emergency Management has issues a hazardous travel advisory for late Thursday and Friday.

The Department of Sanitation said it has loaded 364 salt spreaders and attached plows and tire chains in anticipation of slick roads. Alternate side parking has also been suspended.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it will activate its incident command center Thursday morning.  The agency is also prepping its fleet of deicers, snowblowers, and snow throwers.

The Department of Subways will be salting platforms and commuters are reminded to use caution while walking on outdoor platforms and stairs, the MTA said.

Extra bus personnel, including mechanics and operators, will be brought in over the next several days to help cover the storm.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center to monitor the storm. He warned of potential road closures for Thursday, including the Long Island Expressway, Long Island parkways, as well as I-84 and I-684 in the Hudson Valley.  The governor urged commuters to take mass transit if possible.

“We don’t want people in a situation where they’ve used their vehicle to commute in the morning and now they can’t get home because the roadways are closed,” Cuomo told reporters.

Eileen Peters, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Transportation, said LIE and parkway exit and entrance ramps have been pre-treated. She added that extra crews are coming from upstate, and contractors and towing companies are on standby in case people get stranded.

“When you get this wind and the blizzard-like conditions, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible sometimes, to keep up with constant plowing,” Peters told 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr.

The mayor of Bridgeport, Conn., has already declared a state of emergency for Thursday, imposing special parking regulations so crews can plow.

NJ TRANSIT will be cross-honoring tickets systemwide on Thursday to give customers additional travel options during the storm.

Temperatures could reach into the low single digits by Friday night, with subzero wind chills likely in most areas.

Residents across the Tri-State area are taking measures to make sure they’re prepared not only for the snow, but also for the cold, CBS 2′s Christine Sloan reported.

Experts say the best way to stay warm is to add layers of clothing.

Tri-State area residents headed to stores to stock up on hats, gloves, hand warmers and other snow gear.

“We don’t have any waterproof gloves and any snow pants,” Glen Rock resident Jackie Edwards told Sloan. “Usually we get away with it, but this winter has been awful.”

“I bought a snowblower because I understand we’re supposed to get about 10 inches of snow, so it’s been kind of rough the last couple of years without one,” Louis McClendon, of Huntington, told CBS 2′s Tracee Carrasco.

“I have a nine-horsepower snowblower,” said Gordon Bell, who was shopping at The Home Depot in New Rochelle. “I have three new bags of rock salt. I have two shovels and two sons.”

Some people like Patricia in Midtown, however, said they aren’t too worried about the storm.

“I live in an apartment buidling,” she said. “The super does the shoveling or the digging.”

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