NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — City and state officials urged caution Saturday, as a new round of blowing snow hit the area with more dangerously cold temperatures to follow.
A winter weather advisory is in effect until 1 p.m. Sunday for New York City, northeast New Jersey, southern Westchester and Nassau counties.
A blizzard warning is in effect for eastern Suffolk County and parts of Connecticut from 6 p.m. Saturday until 1 p.m. Sunday.
As CBS2 Meteorologist and Weather Producer Mark McIntyre explained, the blizzard warning was not issued because huge, heaping snow totals are expected – they are not. The reason for the warning is that gusts of 55 to 60 mph will blow the snow around to the point of severely reduced visibilities.
Snow totals most of the city and surrounding area are expected to top out at 3 to 6 inches, with more like 1 to 3 inches in Brooklyn, Staten Island and areas to the south, and 6 inches or more on far eastern Long Island.
High wind and wind chill advisories are also in effect for much of the area.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the first round of snow in Dix Hills was light enough for Velis Acevedo to flick it off his car with minimal effort.
But he was dreading the monster winds and deep freeze expected overnight, saying the wind was the worst part of the coming weather mess.
Officials in Suffolk County prepared as best they could.
“This is going to be a real challenge,” said Town of Brookhaven Supt. of Highways Daniel Losquadro. “You will have white out conditions.”
Brookhaven town snow removal equipment was positioned for a speedy rollout late Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the town’s salt supply was a precious dwindling resource — especially at this fairly late point in the season.
“We’re inside one of our salt barns. We’ve have had a challenge — as has all every other municipality — getting enough salt with these back to back to back storms that we’ve had recently,” Losquardo said.
Residents of Suffolk County were sick and tired of the snow.
“It’s too much snow – that’s about it,” said one man as he drove. “Storm after storm.”
Residents are reminded to keep the roadways clear by staying put and park your car where it won’t get in the way.
“Please park your cars off the road — even if that means sharing driveways with the neighbor,” Losquardo said.
The snow and deep freeze also struck New Jersey, and on Valentine’s Day – the holiday of warming hearts – couples were more interested in warming their hands and feet.
Rich Carvahal was off to Valentine’s dinner with his fiancée Saturday evening, and he was running the risk of rose petals icing over, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported.
“I think the cold keeps them fresh a little bit, right?” Carvahal said.
Eddie Vesuli, owner of Mezza Luna Bistro, was worried that the snow and ice would keep people away on Valentine’s Day, but there didn’t turn out to be a problem. He said the wait time was 45 minutes.
“Family and couples, but mostly family,” he said.
Department of Public Works crews in Ramsey, New Jersey did their best to keep the roads clear for the Valentine’s Day couples and everyone else out driving. Meanwhile, trucks at a salt yard in Mahwah remained in perpetual motion as they resupplied salt spreaders.
The snow fell in northern New Jersey, but accumulation wasn’t significant. The bigger problem was black ice.
The New York City Office of Emergency Management also issued a travel advisory for the entire city, given the snow and strong winds expected Saturday into Sunday.
The Department of Sanitation has issued a snow alert, and has deployed 500 salt spreaders – including small haulsters on residential streets. The city will also deploy 1,600 plows once there is plowable snow of 2 inches or more.
The Department of Transportation has brought in more than 200 personnel, who are expected to be deployed over the weekend for pre-treatment of bridges and overpasses – including salting roadways and repairing potholes ahead of the snow. Bus shelters are also being pre-treated, the city said.
As for specific transportation options, the Staten Island Ferry is expected to run on a normal schedule. But riders should prepare for delays, which will be announced if necessary.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also issued a warning about the snow and extreme cold.
“New Yorkers should take every appropriate precaution as subzero temperatures and blizzard-like conditions hit the state this weekend,” Cuomo said in statement.
According to the National Weather Service, Cuomo said some areas of the state may experience some of the “coldest temperatures in generations.”
Cuomo claimed that temperatures at LaGuardia Airport may drop to their lowest since 1943 and Central Park may experience its lowest temperature since 1888. But while there will be extreme cold, McIntyre said such extremes are not likely.
The lowest temperature recorded at Central Park was minus 15 in 1934. The lowest temperature anticipated in Central Park on Sunday night into Monday is more like 2 degrees above zero, McIntyre said.
But as all experts agreed, this does not mean the cold the area will experience should be taken lightly. Wind chills north an west of the city could bottom out at minus 20 to minus 30.
“This weather can be extremely dangerous for everyone from children to the elderly, so I encourage people to stay indoors whenever possible and stay safe,” Cuomo said.
The city’s OEM is also warning the public to keep warm in this brutal weather.
“It hasn’t been this cold since the early 90s as far as we can tell,” Commissioner Joe Esposito said Friday night. “Use common sense and limit your time outside.”
Because it only takes 15 minutes for frostbite to set in, the dangerous cold has New York City taking action.
Homeless service workers will be doing citywide roundups and keeping checks on people choosing to stay out of shelters and on the streets. People are urged to call 311 if they have problems with residential heat or hot water.
The Department of Sanitation is scheduling employees for mandatory overtime with the small amount of snow expected Saturday.
“When you are fighting snow in these extremely cold temperatures, the salt isn’t very effective,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “You are less likely to see asphalt, even if we’ve been down that street.”
The Department of Sanitation has also issued a snow alert for Saturday afternoon, meaning crews, salt spreaders and plows will be ready for any snow that may fall in the city.
PSEG Long Island crews have been preparing for the storm, looking at power lines and making sure trees are trimmed properly.
Spokesman Jeff Weir said the biggest challenge with the upcoming wintry weather are the predicted high winds.