“Very Dangerous” Blizzard Could Bring Heavy Winds and a Foot of Snow to NYC

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Winter storm Nemo is expected to sock the city today with fierce winds and an icy mix that should bring down power lines and trees, threaten coastal flooding, turn tonight’s commute into a nightmare — and leave more than a foot of snow before it’s done.

“This is a very dangerous storm,” said Jerry Hauer, the state’s emergency-services commissioner, as he urged New Yorkers to stay home if they can today — and leave work early if they can’t.

“Travel will be almost impossible” tonight, he warned.

The snow began falling Friday morning in some areas, with the heaviest amounts falling at night and into Saturday. Wind gusts could reach 75 mph. Widespread power failures were feared, along with flooding in coastal areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy in October.

City schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said that schools are open today but that all afterschool programs and PSAL games are canceled.

“We are watching conditions and will decide about Saturday programs later today when we have more information on the storm forecast for tomorrow. While travel conditions to school in the morning may not be difficult, the weather is expected to worsen as the day progresses,” the Dept. of Education said in a statement.

The organizers of New York’s Fashion Week — a closely watched series of fashion shows held under a big tent — said they will have extra crews to help with snow removal and will turn up the heat and add an extra layer to the venue.

Blizzard warnings were posted for parts of New Jersey and Long Island.

The full impact won’t be known until sundown, when two powerful storms — an Alberta clipper from Canada and a big rainmaker from the Gulf and Southeast — collide and combine off the Atlantic coast, forecasters said. But the storm could be one for the record books, forecasters warned.

“This one doesn’t come along every day. This is going to be a dangerous winter storm,” said Alan Dunham, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass. “Wherever you need to get to, get there by Friday afternoon and don’t plan on leaving.”

The city could get between 10 and 15 inches of snow, according to AccuWeather.

“We can also expect sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph today and nighttime gusts of 50 mph, said AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Edwards, adding, “Certainly, this will be classified as a blizzard.”

Mayor Bloomberg said the city had 250 tons of salt on hand, and sanitation workers would start 12-hour shifts at 7 p.m. when heavy snow is expected to begin piling up. “We’re ready for it,” Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.

Hauer warned coastal areas of Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island of a tidal surge of three to five feet and “strong wave action.” That’s not close to Hurricane Sandy’s 13-foot-plus surge but serious enough for residents to be prepared if they have to evacuate, he said.

“The good news, I guess if you like snow, is that we’re going to have snow,” Bloomberg said yesterday morning.

Edwards said high temperatures in the city may reach only 31 tomorrow and 36 Sunday, so don’t expect any real melting until the low and mid-40s of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Alternate-side parking will be suspended through Sunday.

Amtrak is suspending all service between New York and Boston starting at 1 p.m. today.

The MTA expects to be operating subways and buses as it attempts to clear tracks of snow.

The LIRR is adding extra trains in the afternoon to help passengers get home.

More than 1,700 flights have been canceled along the Northeast as JFK, Newark and La Guardia are all expecting disruptions in flights starting later today.

Drivers were bracing for the worst last night, as gas lines stretched for blocks in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island.

Source: NY Post

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