News

Fierce Winter Storm Hits Tri-State Area (page 2)

People walk through the snow during a winter storm in lower Manhattan on Jan. 2, 2014. (credit: Getty Images)

People walk through the snow during a winter storm in lower Manhattan on Jan. 2, 2014. (credit: Getty Images)

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said workers have been pre-treating the roadways since early Thursday morning, but he advises Long Islanders to get home early from work and stay off the roads when the blizzard hits.

“If it continues to track this way this is a time to either stay home or get home from the office earlier and stay ahead of the storm, or take mass transit,” Mangano told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “This is a time to not be on the roadways unless you absolutely have to be.”

Mangano activated the county’s non-emergency hotline at noon Thursday. Residents with non-life threatening emergencies should dial 1-888-684-4274 for assistance through the duration of the storm. Those with life-threatening emergencies should call 911.

“This is a situation where we prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Mangano said.

The sprawling Town of Brookhaven, which has 3,300 miles of roadways — many of which were buried in last year’s blizzard — has a new computerized command center, live traffic cameras, GPS tracking of plows and a new highway superintendent ready to do battle.

“We started repairing and maintaining our snow equipment right after Labor Day this year,” Daniel Losquardo, Brookhaven’s highway superintendent, told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

Amtrak said it will operate on a modified snow schedule Friday in order to minimize impact on its customers.

Rockland’s new county executive started prepping for the storm immediately after being sworn in New Year’s Day.

“After the inaugural ceremony, myself and the chief of staff sat down with the fire and emergency services people,” County Executive Ed Day said.

He is also urging residents to stay off the roads. “If there’s an opportunity for them to get home prior to the bulk of this storm hitting it’s in their best interest to do so,” Day said.

By 10 p.m. snow had started to coat roads in Yonkers where drivers told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider that plows weren’t keeping up.

“The car was slipping and sliding. They’re not even doing a good job of cleaning the streets,” Manuel Tejada said.

Tejada’s BMW became stuck on the sidewalk off of Yonkers Ave after it slid off of the road. The damage was minimal but Tejada said that it was indicative of conditions on the road.

Tejada’s sentiment was echoed by other drivers who said that plows did not seem to be making much of a dent.

“It’s slippery out there and people, they should slow down a little bit but they think they’re in a race track,” Mike Sepa said.

“The roads aren’t too good. The conditions are falling apart quickly,” Dan Direnzo said, “It’s not a good time to be out.”

‘A Serious Storm Situation’

During a news conference Thursday evening, Mayor de Blasio said he was “impressed and proud” of the coordination efforts by the city’s agencies and commissioners in dealing with the snowstorm.

De Blasio urged New York City residents to stay indoors and off roadways Thursday and Friday so that the city’s Department of Sanitation can plow and salt streets.

Sanitation crews spent the morning loading up on salt and sand and then sent trucks out onto the streets to pre-treat the roads in all five boroughs.  There are 450 salt spreaders deployed to city streets, according to de Blasio.

Sanitation workers are now on 12-hour shifts, with 2,300 workers assigned to each shift, de Blasio said.

After more than two inches of snow falls, the mayor said 1,700 snowplow trucks will be deployed to clear roadways.

All city snowplow trucks are GPS equipped, allowing New Yorkers to follow their progress via the Plow NYC feature on NYC.gov.

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended citywide Friday to facilitate snow removal. Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the city.

“It’s going to be cold, it could be icy. We want people to take extra care, take it slow getting home. If you have the option of mass transit, please use that option,” said de Blasio after a stop at the Department of Sanitation command center. “Please stay home tonight. If you have any option to, please stay home tonight and stay off the roads so the people who are here to keep them clear can do their work.”

This will be the first snowstorm with de Blasio at the helm, but veterans will be running operations on the ground.

Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty is staying on in a transitional role over the next few months as are the commissioners of the FDNY and Office of Emergency Management.

Sanitation crews can clear six inches of snow from primary and secondary roads pretty quickly, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported. It’s the so-called “tertiary streets” that could be messy for a day or so following the storm.

Doherty told CBS 2’s Lou Young that despite snowplows working for several hours now, the wind is proving to be a difficult factor in keeping the snow off roads.  “A lot of people expect to see blacktop in New York City all the time. It’s not going to happen tonight.”

And it’s not only the wind, but the cold temperatures overnight render salt useless for melting snow, Young reported.

The MTA has ice-busting machines fueled up with plans to deploy them to all 468 subway stations and along all 220 miles of outdoor track and platforms are already being salted.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says extra personnel will keep bridges, tunnels, airports and trains running.

The city Department of Buildings says all construction sites and buildings should be secured due to a forecast of high winds and snow.  It says it will be performing random spot-checks at construction sites around the city.

All senior centers will be closed Friday and city meal programs have delivered enough food to the elderly in need to last through Monday, de Blasio said.

The mayor urged residents to check on elderly or disabled neighbors.  He also reminded residents to call 311 for any non-life threatening problems.