Preparations Underway As National Weather Service Announces Blizzard Watch

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York State is gearing up for a severe winter storm expected to hit the Tri-State area early next week.

The National Weather Service announced a blizzard watch for coastal regions including New York City and upstate New York.

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The significant snowstorm is set to impact the area Tuesday. It’s expected to sweep the New York region starting Monday with possibly the season’s biggest snowstorm dumping up to 18 inches on Central Park.

A winter storm watch was in effect for a larger area of the Northeast: New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England.

In New York City, forecasters said the first snow is expected late Monday or just after midnight Tuesday, with up to 4 inches falling by dawn. Heavy snow the rest of the day could pile 10 to 14 inches more of white stuff, with sustained winds of about 30 mph and wind gusts of up to 50 mph.

“This would certainly be the biggest snowstorm of the 2017 winter season in New York City,” said Faye Barthold, a weather service meteorologist based on Long Island.

On Long Island, a snowfall of 12 to 18 inches was forecast along with equally strong winds and visibility of a quarter mile or less.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a snow alert for Monday at 11 p.m. to help prepare for Tuesday’s storm. The sanitation department coordinates with the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Transportation on snow clearing protocol.

“We are monitoring this storm closely and will update New Yorkers soon,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Sunday.

Other areas, including the lower Hudson Valley and northeastern New Jersey, also could get 12 to 18 inches of snow. But those areas were not under a blizzard watch because high winds and low visibility were not expected.

“They say that we’re getting at least 12 to 18 inches, and no I’m not looking forward to that,” Sandy Colon from Floral Park tells CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.

The city of Newark announced that police will enforce the city’s “No Parking on Snow Covered Roads” regulations in anticipation of the incoming storm.

To aid the city of Newark with the snow removal process, the city’s public safety director Anthony Ambrose asked residents to refrain from parking their vehicles on the street until 48 hours after the snow stops falling.

On Sunday, high school students from San Diego took in the sights of the city as they braced the bitter cold, WCBS 880’s Myles Miller reported.

“I gotta say, it’s been pretty cold, I’m not used to this type of coldness,” one student said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also announced several preparations ahead of the storm, including the activation of the New York State Emergency Operations Center on Monday evening, and the deployment of sandbags, generators and pumps to help manage heavy snowfall.

“We are closely monitoring this storm as it develops and I am directing all state agencies to be on alert and ready to respond as the weather develops,” Cuomo said in a statement Sunday.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is expected to deploy several emergency vehicles in Suffolk County and the Mid-Hudson region, with additional vehicles on standby in case additional assistance is needed. Up to 1,800 plows are also being deployed across the state, with 443,000 tons of rock salt on hand to protect roads from dangerous winter conditions.

Cuomo is urging residents to be prepared ahead of the storm.

It seems that some people are taking the governor’s words to heart.

“Oh no, I’ve still got some stuff from the last storm so I’m good,” Chris from Greenpoint tells 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman.

The Saboni family from Seaford, Long Island says they’re stocked up and ready for a storm they think is long overdue.

“I kind of expected this because of such a mild early winter,” husband Andy said, “but I was going to drag on until the spring possibly.”

His wife Judy says they have their salt and shovels ready to go.

Pat Myren and her friends from Long Island have loaded up their truck with supplies.

“I’m hoping, need to stay home and be safe and that’s what I’m praying for,” she said.

Peter from Platt’s Hardware in Ridgewood says he’s had many customers come in already for salt, not putting it off until the last minute.

“Everybody’s getting enough just for this one storm and that’s it,” he tells 1010 WINS. “So everybody’s buying just enough.”

He says his store has plenty left to go around.

The Home Depot in Yonkers still had shovels in stock but already ran out of salt. An emergency supply was expected to arrive at some time Monday.

Call Center Helpline hours will also be extended on March 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and into Wednesday if needed. Residents looking for assistance can reach the hotline at (800) 342-3377.

The severe weather would arrive just a week after the region saw temperatures climb into the 60s. Sunny days and T-shirt-wearing temperatures made it seem like winter had made an early exit. But the chilly weather and snow some areas got Friday may prove to be just a teaser.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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