Winter Storm To Dump More Snow As It Enters Day 2
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Another winter storm has battered the Tri-State, and could dump another 6 inches of heavy, wet snow as it enters its second day.
On Thursday, the snow gave way to a mess of rain, slush and glop. Early Friday morning, more snow was expected to fall.
A total of 2 to 4 additional inches of new snow are expected in the city and most surrounding areas through Friday morning, with isolated bands seeing an additional 4 to 6 inches.
The rare phenomenon of thundersnow is coming during the overnight hours, CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.
A winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for much of the area.
As of 9 p.m., snowfall totals had reached 9.5 inches in Central Park; Glendale, Queens; and Great Kills, Staten Island; 8.5 inches in Astoria, Queens; and 5.5 inches at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
On Long Island, the forecast on Wednesday night called for the lowest totals. But many areas saw more than a foot of accumulation; Bayville saw a total of 14.6 inches.
And in New Jersey, a whopping 15 inches fell in Kearny.
The forecast calls for the snow to turn into a wintry mix or all rain in the late afternoon Thursday before changing back to snow. An additional 2 to 5 inches could fall Thursday evening.
By 10:45 a.m. Thursday, 9.5 inches had fallen in Central Park.
Mayor Bill de Blasio updated the storm response effort from Office of Emergency Management headquarters in Brooklyn Thursday morning. He said parts of the city could see 10 to 14 inches of snow by Thursday night, depending on neighborhood and other precipitation types that fall before nighttime.
WATCH: Mayor’s Press Conference
The mayor said there was about 5 to 8 inches of snow by the end of the morning commute, which was more than was projected by the National Weather Service.
“This storm sped up, this storm had more accumulation than was expected,” said de Blasio.
De Blasio defended his decision to keep public schools open, noting the forecast called for as little as 3 inches during the morning rush.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island and the mid-Hudson Valley.
“During the storm, snow is projected to accumulate at a rate of two to three inches per hour, which will make it challenging for plow crews to keep roads clear,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “Drivers should stay off of the roads if at all possible and exercise extreme caution if they absolutely must travel.”
PHOTOS: Thursday’s Snowstorm
Cuomo said travel and volume on the roads has been lighter than usual and Department of Transportation crews are out in full force doing their best to keep the roads clear.
“This is a long duration storm which is probably the most significant challenge. We’ve gone through a number of storms, each one seems to have its own curve ball, the curve ball to this storm is the duration,” Cuomo said.
So far, there have been no highway closures as a result of the latest snowstorm.
Cuomo said the decision to close highways is made on a case-by-case basis. Cuomo insisted keeping roads open on Thursday was unrelated to any criticism he received earlier this month when he closed parts of Interstate 84.
Cuomo also was criticized when he decided to not close the Long Island Expressway last year when a storm dumped nearly three feet of snow and motorists were stranded for many hours.
He said it is easy for people on either side of the debate to second-guess his decisions.
In the city, the OEM issued a hazardous travel advisory and winter storm warning for Thursday and Friday. Mayor de Blasio at his press conference urged people to use mass transit or stay indoors if at all possible.
“If you do not need to drive, you will help yourself and everyone else by staying off the roads,” he said earlier Thursday. “Take mass transit and leave extra time.”
Motorists who must travel are advised to use major streets or highways whenever possible because those roadways will be cleared first.
Alternate side street parking regulations have been suspended for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Parking meters remain in effect.
The mayor also reminded property owners to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes.
The New York City Department of Sanitation has more than 2,300 pieces of equipment out clearing the roads. Sanitation workers began 12-hour shifts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday to help combat the snow.
“We’re moving along. It’s going to take us a while, it takes a while to get through these streets. People sometimes don’t realize, they hear about New York City has 6,300 miles of streets but you got to look at the lane miles when it comes to plowing and it’s 10,000 lane miles out there, roughly, that we have to plow,” Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty told WCBS 880.
WEB EXTRA: Track Plows In Your Neighborhood
Doherty said this isn’t the worst winter he’s dealt with, but added there hasn’t been much of a break in the action.
He said the sub-freezing temperatures have not helped in the snow removal effort, so the accumulation just keeps adding up.
“Every time you’re turning around, you’re getting another storm in a short period of time,” he said. “I think this is going to be about the fifth one since the first of the year and it’s cold temperatures is really what has hurt us an awful lot in trying to manage our snow operations.”
Conditions on sidewalks were miserable Thursday afternoon.
As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported Thursday afternoon, with the messy snow on the ground and a mess of sloppy rain coming afterward, many sidewalks and crosswalks were left unnavigable with gloppy puddles that left shoes submerged and tempers short.
One such intersection was the southwest corner of 57th Street and Ninth Avenue, where one frail woman nearly tripped until helped by a stranger. Another woman already had a brace on her hand from an earlier fall.
“I fell already, so I’m very careful now making sure that I don’t slip and fall again. I only have one hand,” she said.
Meanwhile, rain flooded the West Side Highway, although it was not nearly as crowded as usual. Many people elected to stay close to home.
And as if the sloppy sidewalks weren’t enough of a nuisance, piles of garbage bags remained buried in the snow too. Garbage collection has been canceled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, de Blasio announced. There is no garbage pickup on Sunday or Monday, a federal holiday.
Transportation also has been affected. Metro-North says it’s cutting service to 75 percent of regular train runs.
It expects fewer riders as commuters stay home and wants to reduce the impact of the storm on equipment, tracks and other parts of the rail operation.
“We are going to switch to hourly service at 4 p.m. so I’m advising people to travel sooner rather than later,” Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders told WCBS 880 on Thursday afternoon. “The railroad received an extra heavy snow dump and it well exceeded the forecast so there have been some operating difficulties and we have done some combined trains.”
The LIRR was operating diesel service only on the Huntington/Port Jefferson branch for the evening rush Thursday. All electric train service on the Huntington branch was to terminate at Hicksville.
While city public schools remained open, the Archdiocese of New York said that Catholic elementary schools in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island are closed due to the snow.
Archdiocese schools in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties on Thursday will follow the decisions made by their local public school districts regarding school closings or delayed openings.
It said Catholic high schools in the archdiocese decide individually about closing or delaying school openings. Each school posts it decision on the school’s website.
Con Edison says a mix of snow and freezing rain can lead to power outages in the New York City area.
The utility notes that the frozen stuff can bring trees and limbs down onto power lines.
It’s reminding residents to stay away from any downed lines.
Outages and downed lines can be reported at Con Ed’s website or at 1-800-75-CONED.
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