Update: Late Sunday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an emergency executive order banning all nonessential travel in New York City beginning 6 am Monday.
New York City is bracing for a major winter storm, with more than a foot of snow expected across the city on Monday.
In a rare Sunday press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled Open Restaurants and ordered vaccination appointments be postponed while also urging motorists to stay off the roads if possible.
“On Monday, stay home,” Hizzoner said, predicting anywhere from 14 to 16 inches of snow across the city. “If you don’t need to be in a car, you can use mass transit. [It’s] much better to stay out of your car … Please to the maximum extent you humanly can, make alternative plans.”
Public school buildings will be closed Feb. 1, but it isn’t a snow day — remote learning will continue despite the storm. Learning Bridges, after-school programs, adult education and YABC programs, however, are canceled.
Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said snow and downed trees are not the only concerns city officials are preparing for, but also flood risks in sections of the city prone to coastal flooding.
“We’re also going to see some minor coastal flooding in those areas that normally see it … and this is going to be during the high tide cycles on Monday,” Criswell said. “Our tow truck task force has also been activated so that it can respond quickly to clear any vehicles or debris blocking roads, and we’re also going to have a number of tow trucks pre-positioned at some of those critical sites around the city like bridges.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been preparing for the storm for the last two days, according to officials who echoed de Blasio’s warning to stay home. Thousands of buses have been moved and equipped with chains, according to MTA Bus Company President Craig Cipriano, and 60-foot vessels have been removed from service in exchange for 3,000 40-foot buses.
On subways, deicing material was dispersed on tracks and the third rail Sunday afternoon, and snow blowers will be deployed on Monday during the anticipated height of the storm. Jet blowers will also help clear train yards.
“We have contingency plans on contingencies on contingencies to make sure that everybody is kept safe at all times and our Situation Room is operating 24 hours a day to deal with any situation real time,” MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Peloquin said.
Sanitation workers geared up for the arctic weather on Sunday by pre-liquid treating over 500 miles of roadway. As the first few snowflakes began to fall, front-end loaders could be observed loading gigantic mounds of salt into trucks, which will be spread throughout the city via a battalion of plows and other vehicles.
According to New York City’s Sanitation Department, there are approximately 59 district garages with more than 2,000 rear-loading collection trucks, 450 mechanical brooms and 705 salt spreaders. These tools allow for the department to efficiently clear snow, ice, and debris — as well as abandoned cars — throughout the metropolitan area.
Alternate side parking is also suspended through Tuesday, when snowfall is expected until.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported, contrary to the mayor, that the five boroughs could receive as much as 18 inches.
Additional reporting by Dean Moses
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.