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City Prepares For Wintry Blast; Blizzard Warning In Effect

City and state officials are preparing for a blast of winter that could bring heavy winds and a mixed bag of precipitation heading into the weekend.

The National Weather service has issued a blizzard warning for the five boroughs through 1 p.m. Saturday.

A coastal flood watch will also be in effect Friday night for those living along the shorelines of the Bronx and northern Queens.

Heavy wind gusts up to 60 mph are possible, meaning white-out conditions are possible at times.

Some models are showing parts of the city could see anywhere between five and eight inches, while others show possible accumulations of more than a foot.

Alternate side parking rules will be suspended Friday citywide, though meters will still be in effect.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg downplayed expectations for a significant storm, but both he and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty stressed the city is prepared to respond no matter what happens.

“The better news is that if it’s going to happen, having it happen on a Friday 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,” Bloomberg said.

“I expect tomorrow night when it starts to come down we’ll be out plowing,” said Doherty.  “There is an off chance we could be plowing tomorrow morning if the temperature doesn’t rise early enough but we’re prepared for that.  We’ve set up the operation so that if tomorrow there is a delay in turning to rain, we will be ready with our plows and our salt spreaders.”

Sanitation workers will be doing longer shifts starting Friday night as the storm makes its way in.

Residents can track the progress of snowplows on the city’s website, nyc.gov.

Similarly, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it’s mobilizing extra crews and equipment on 12-hour shifts to keep its bridges, tunnels and airports clear and operational.

That includes 200 plows, salt spreaders and de-icers, as well as 2,000 tons of salt and 1,500 tons of sand for the spreaders.

It’s also mobilizing equipment to clear tracks along the PATH.

Consolidated Edison says its crews are also getting ready for possible power outages brought on by the storm.

Utility spokesman  Michael Clendenin says crews are on hand all over the city to respond to reports of outages and says the top priority will be to get customers’ power back on safely.

“All those wet power lines and moisture will probably build up. It could freeze making the lines heavy and then you have snow on top of that, so we’re certainly anticipating a fair number of outages,” Clendenin said.

To report an outage, call 1-800-75-CONED or visit their website.

With heavy winds expected along with the snow, the Department of Buildings is asking all contractors and property owners to secure all loose materials including tools, fuses and other similar items.

Contractors and developers must secure all netting and scaffolding as well as cease all crane operations.

All electrical equipment also needs to be covered.

Homeowners are asked to do the same including bringing in lawn furniture, toys and other loose items.

They are also asked to secure awnings and tie down gas grills and propane tanks.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross is urging residents to prepare for the possibility of severe weather.

It says residents should prep for the snow and power outages that could result from damaging winds, especially in areas with trees that were already weakened by the hurricane.

The Red Cross says people should have a disaster kit ready.

It should include first aid, medications, water and non-perishable food.  It should also include a flashlight, batteries and a battery-powered radio.

For more information, visit redcross.org.

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Posted by on February 7, 2013. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.