Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers of “blinding snow” falling at a rate of two to four inches per hour and Gov. Andrew Cuomo cautioned that the plows “can’t keep up” as a powerful winter storm pelted the Big Apple on Monday.
“Blizzard conditions — stay off the roads, stay off the streets and sidewalks, stay inside. If there is any way to avoid traveling, avoid traveling today,” de Blasio pleaded during a City Hall press briefing, as he explained that “at the most intense points” of the storm, “you’re going to see two to four inches of snow per hour.”
“That is extremely intense snow. That’s blinding snow,” Hizzoner said, adding that he is “fearful” of the situation getting “worse.”
In-person learning at New York City public schools has been canceled for Monday and Tuesday, with classes moving to remote learning, de Blasio said.
“There will not be in-person schools tomorrow,” de Blasio. “Wednesday we will be back strong.”
Coronavirus vaccination appointments scheduled for Tuesday have also been postponed because of the storm, said de Blasio, who previously announced that jabs for Monday would be delayed too.
Additionally, alternate-side parking rules will be suspended through Saturday for snow operations. Parking meters will remain in effect.
Outdoor dining was also canceled Monday, de Blasio said, noting, “We’ll see about tomorrow night” for the program.
Meanwhile, Cuomo, speaking on WCBS 880 Radio earlier Monday, said that the snow plows out on the streets are unable to keep up with the white stuff.
“At this rate of snowfall … the plows can’t keep up,” said Cuomo. “If the volume is anything like they’re talking about … we’re going to see a very serious situation.”
“I’m telling you, I’m on the road right now – it is horrendous,” said Cuomo, who at the time was driving himself into New York City.
Cuomo had warned that above-ground service on the MTA’s subway system could close due to the storm, and it was later announced that service on the above-ground lines would be suspended starting at 2 p.m.
“You could see Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road close, you could see major road closings like the LIE [Long Island Expressway], like the parkways going north, so people could get stranded if they’re not off the roads and if they’re relying on the commuter rail,” said Cuomo. “You could see the commuter rail close.”
During a later press briefing in Manhattan, Cuomo called the storm a “dangerous, life-threatening situation.”
“This is a serious situation. It’s nothing to be trifled with,” he said as he told New Yorkers to “expect major closures so you’re not surprised.”
New York City could see as much as 16 to 22 inches of snow, forecasts show, which would make the storm the biggest to hit the five boroughs since 2016.
De Blasio said the Big Apple “might even see more.”
“We’ve got to take this really seriously,” he said.
The city’s emergency management commissioner, Deanne Criswell, said more than six inches of snow had already fallen in parts of the Big Apple by the early morning.
“This is going to be an extremely dangerous and treacherous storm,” she said. “We’re starting to see the heavier bands of snow now and that’s going to last through early evening.”
In addition to “blizzard-like conditions,” sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour are expected, Criswell said.
“The conditions are going to be very hazardous,” said Criswell, adding, “We are expecting to see some moderate flooding during tonight’s high tide.”
City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Ed Grayson said 2,000 plows along with 700 salt spreaders have been out plowing “all night long.”
“We fought about a six-inch snowstorm before daybreak and now we have even more coming,” said Grayson, explaining, “Our mission today is to try to keep all roadways passable for all New Yorkers.”
It will take “multiple passes” by plows to clear snow off city streets “during this prolonged period of active snowfall, said Grayson.
“In a storm like this, it will be quite some time before everyone can see blacktop on their streets,” he said.
The mayor had issued a state of emergency for the city that includes restrictions on non-essential travel that began at 6 a.m. Monday and will last through 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Cuomo on Monday declared a state of emergency in New York City, Long Island and throughout the Hudson Valley.