NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Roads were already being salted as the New York City got 700 spreaders and 1,600 plows prepared for dealing with a winter storm heading into the Tri-State Area.
“We anticipate those will roll afternoon tomorrow and continue on probably Monday,” said Kathryn Garcia, head of the Department of Sanitation.
After New York’s last big snowstorm in November paralyzed traffic and transit for hours, city agencies were feeling the pressure to avoid any repeat mistakes.
“That was a freak storm by definition, where this city was because the (George Washington) Bridge went out,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “That said, we learned from it before.”
Among preps on Friday, MTA buses got new high-tech chains on their tires.
“Since the last storm we had in November,” said Department of Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We have been working on really doing close traffic monitoring. We will be monitoring every hour and sending out more communications as obviously this uncertain storm develops.”
WEB EXTRA – City Officials Address New York’s Efforts To Prepare For The Weekend Snowstorm:
Friday’s early dusting of snow was the first of a one-two punch, with more snow, rain and ice ahead this weekend.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has activated the state emergency operation center to help monitor the storm. Dozens of area schools are closed Friday or had delayed openings, but New York City public schools were not affected.
“There’s an element of unpredictability. For everyday New Yorkers, the way to deal with that is to keep constantly informed,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. “For all of us preparing, we take a very conservative approach, we assume the worst, not the best… We have to be ready for anything that Mother Nature throws at us.”
The mayor urged people to get their errands done Saturday during the day and get off the roads by 7 p.m.
“Sunday is going to be a mess, based on what we know,” he said. “Expect it to be very hard to get around.”
“As The Who once said, we won’t be fooled again,” de Blasio said Thursday. “Whatever the National Weather Service says, we’re now like multiplying by four.”
Just a few inches of snow led to disaster, largely because of the poor response by Department of Public Works crews. A crash shut down the George Washington Bridge, and surrounding streets were so jammed some drivers were stuck sitting in their cars for several hours – even plows couldn’t get through.
“We learned from that event,” said Joe Esposito, commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management. “I’m not going to make promises. What I can tell you is we’re better prepared for it and we’re doing more.”
Watch: Mayor Bill De Blasio Discusses City’s Storm Preparations
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke with shoppers in Yonkers who said they weren’t taking any chances either.
“I’m getting some salt so that I can sprinkle in the front of my house so no one falls,” Pamela Miles, of Mount Vernon, said.
“Just a few items that I need, I don’t overdo it, because you never know, then you lose power and then you’re on the other end throwing it all away,” said Arlene Marino, of Elmsford.
While many people said they planned to hunker down at home, others were feeling more adventurous.
“We haven’t had that much snow this year, so we’re looking forward to it,” Dan Williams, of Hastings, said.
“This weekend the snow plow is going to come and push all the snow to make it so we [can] sled and skate,” his son, Theo, added.
“We’re actually at Stew’s getting stuff to go up to Vermont to go skiing for the weekend, so we’re not too worried about the snow. We hope it snows up there,” said Marybeth Sheppard, of Hastings.
City leaders said plows will be positioned in all five borough, and state police will have extra troopers on the roads.