Updated at 12:09 a.m., Feb. 8, 2013
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Hours from now, the Tri-State Area is expected to be blanketed with heavy snow and rain, and bashed by powerful winds.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for New York City, Long Island, northeastern New Jersey, all of Connecticut and southern Westchester County. It will be in effect starting 6 a.m. Friday through 1 p.m. Saturday.
Snow accumulations are expected to range from 10 to 14 inches, with higher amounts in areas north and east of New York City. For its part, the city is expected to get about 6 to 12 inches.
Areas west and south of New York City are expected to get 3 to 6 inches.
The strongest winds and heaviest snow will occur Friday evening into Saturday morning, the National Weather Service said.
“We could very well end up using that term again — superstorm. This is sort of a winter version of a superstorm,” CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn, with his jacket off and sleeves rolled up, said Thursday evening.
Another big concern is flooding along the coast, especially for residents still cleaning up from Superstorm Sandy. A coastal flood watch will also be in effect Friday night through Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, crews were out in full force on Thursday, making sure plows were ready to go. Salt trucks were being filled and are now just waiting for their call to hit the streets.
In area grocery stores, stocked shelves were quickly getting bare. People were stocking up on the essentials ahead of the storm that could force them to be stuck inside this weekend.
SNOW STARTS FRIDAY, GETS WORSE OVERNIGHT
CBS 2’s Quinn said he expected some snow to begin falling around 8 a.m. Friday. As the day continues, closer to about 1 p.m., Quinn said the area will see a rain and sleet mix.
However, the nor’easter will pack a mighty punch beginning around 8 p.m. into 2 a.m. Saturday. That is when Quinn said snow could accumulate up to 10 inches.
From 2 a.m. Saturday through the morning hours, the area is expected to see only light snow, Quinn added.
Quinn predicted that areas far north of the city, including Orange, Westchester and Putnam counties, could see more than 14 inches of snow.
“The bull’s-eye is going to be areas west of Boston, Mass.,” Quinn said.
NYC PREPARES FOR THE WORST
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the Department of sanitation has declared a snow alert beginning at 4 a.m. Friday and workers will begin split 12-hour shifts starting 7 p.m. Friday.
Bloomberg also issued a severe weather advisory for New York City, starting Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. That advisory means the public is urged to avoid unnecessary driving and use public transportation.
Vehicles found to be blocking roadways or impeding the ability to plow streets will also be subject to towing at the owner’s expense.
Another important note is that City government and public schools will be open on Friday, but after-school programs are subject to cancellation.
The city is loading 365 salt spreaders and has more than 250,000 tons of salt on hand.
“We’ll be salting as soon as the roads turn white,” Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said. “I expect tomorrow night when it starts to come down we’ll be out plowing. There is an off chance that we could be plowing tomorrow morning if the temperature doesn’t rise early enough but we’re prepared for that. We will be ready with our plows and our salt spreaders. We’ve started going around the clock already with our operation.”
With the storm approaching, Mayor Bloomberg said the good news is that so far this winter, the city has not touched any of the money in its snow removal budget.
“The better news is that if it’s going to happen, overnight Friday into Saturday is probably as good timing as we could have because the sanitation department then has the advantage of being able to clean the streets when there’s normally less traffic,” the mayor told reporters including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.