NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than 1,500 flights were canceled, many students were sent home early, and the roads were a miserable mess through the night Tuesday as the Tri-State area was pounded with a brutal blast of heavy snow and bitter cold.
The storm dumped more than a foot of snow in many areas and set a record in Central Park — with 7.6 inches in Central Park topping a previous record of 6 inches in 2001.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in effect until 6 a.m. Wednesday for the five boroughs of New York City, the northern suburbs, all of Long Island, most of New Jersey, and southern and eastern Connecticut.
CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported the storm has taken the worst possible track for the Tri-State Area, with the center of the system hovering directly over Manhattan at the peak of the evening rush.
“We are in the bullseye. It is right on top of us,” Quinn said.
Meanwhile, the winds were expected to grow more severe due to air from Canada pushing around the mid-Atlantic and a low-pressure system settling over Montauk, Quinn reported.
The counterclockwise wind around the low-pressure system will result in whiteout blizzard conditions for some.
Some areas saw well over a foot of snow. As of 11 p.m., Manalapan, N.J., had seen 15.5 inches and Englishtown 13.1 inches.
And Suffolk County could see another 2 to 3 inches overnight. More accumulation was also expected in Monmouth and Ocean counties.
The northern end of Central Park at 110th Street saw 10 inches of snow. Midwood, Brooklyn saw 10.5 inches; Great Kills, Staten Island saw 8.6 inches; and in Westchester County, Scarsdale saw 7 incehs and White Plains 6.5, 1010 WINS reported.
On Long Island, Lindenhurst had seen 9 inches, Centerreach 8.5 and Jericho 9.5 as of the 10 p.m. hour.
But Suffolk County could see another 2 to 3 inches overnight. More accumulation was also expected in Monmouth and Ocean counties, Quinn reported.
Totals of 10 inches were seen in Greenwich, Norwalk and New Canaan, Conn.
And overnight, temperatures were dropping to the single digits, with wind chills in the subzero range for all.
Quinn forecast wind chills bottoming out at 0 to minus 15 in the city and areas directly to the west, 5 to minus 5 on eastern Long Island, and minus 10 to minus 20 in the northern suburbs.
At 8 a.m. Wednesday, temperatures were expected to be 7 degrees in New York City, and at the coldest, just 1 degree in Liberty. The high in New York City is only expected to top out at 15 degrees Wednesday.
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon for the five boroughs of New York, as well as Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland counties to the north. The order deploys additional equipment and personnel to affected areas.
The governor also activated the State Emergency Operations Center to monitor the winter storm.
“This winter storm will bring a one-two punch of snow and extreme cold. I urge all those in the affected regions to exercise caution, and avoid travel if possible,” Cuomo said in a news release. “State resources are deployed to clear snow and help those impacted by the storm, but above all it is important that New Yorkers remain safe both during and after the storm.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also declared a state of emergency due to the snowstorm, allowing the State Director of Emergency Management to activate and coordinate the preparation, response and recovery efforts for the storm with all county and municipal emergency operations and governmental agencies.
“Today’s winter storm is expected to produce heavy snow, dangerous conditions and travel hazards throughout the state,” said Christie in a statement. “I’ve authorized state officials to take all necessary action to prepare, and my Administration will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. I encourage all New Jerseyans to stay off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations.”
There had been 238 reported accidents and 354 motorists aided in their patrol areas, New Jersey State Police said.
New York City Public Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced late Tuesday night that schools will be open Wednesday.
But at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio reminded New Yorkers to be safe for the night as temperatures drop.
“Extremely frigid conditions – again, prolonged exposure is dangerous,” de Blasio said. “People should stay home in the maximum event possible. If you need to go out, you should stay out as briefly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said the city hopes to make good on its plan to clear most of the main roads by Wednesday morning. But the effort will require plowing through the night, he said.
And NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said some intersections have gone without traffic aides because it simply is not safe due to the slippery conditions.
“We’re actually holding some of them and you can’t use them in certain intersections. It’s too dangerous. I’m sorry,” Bratton said.
After-school programs and PSAL activities were canceled Tuesday.
More than 2,000 sanitation workers were fully mobilized to work around the clock.
The mayor earlier said more than 450 salt spreaders were already out on the roads by midday. As many as 1,700 vehicles can hit the road as conditions warrant, said the mayor.
Trash and recycling collection has been suspended for Tuesday and Wednesday so sanitation crews can focus on snow removal.
PHOTOS: Snow Blankets Area
At John F. Kennedy Airport, flights were not allowed to depart early Tuesday afternoon because of snow and ice. A ground stop was also in effect at LaGuardia Airport. Most flights arriving at and departing from MacArthur Airport on Long Island were canceled Tuesday afternoon.
At the three major area airports, the Port Authority announced more than 1,500 flights were canceled Tuesday afternoon.
Up to 30 percent of flights at all major airports from New York City to Washington, D.C, could be affected.
There were no major delays at the airports — but that was only because most of the flights had been canceled anyway.
Check with your airline before heading out the airport for the most accurate travel information.