By Jon Cronin, Editor
Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a winter weather emergency, labeling Thursday’s snowfall “a very dangerous storm” and warning of blizzard conditions in some parts of Queens.
De Blasio said that salt spreading at 0 degrees will have little effect on the streets and that New Yorkers may not see black top for several days in some places.
The storm could bring up to 10 inches of snow for parts of the city and winds up to 50 miles per hour.
The mayor and Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said that outer boroughs will see better plowing this year after the purchase of 168 small plows and spreaders that are able to serve the more narrow streets. The mayor was in Corona earlier in the morning, checking out the use of the smaller plows and how they work in the narrower streets.
“They definitely will get that attention,” said de Blasio during a press conference in Brooklyn this morning. “Last year, Sanitation did not have the right equipment.”
The mayor urged New Yorkers to stay indoors and take mass transit if they must travel. He noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency.
“Stay indoors for the maximum extent possible,” he reiterated. ”All vehicles will be towed that are blocking roadways.”
He said that it was important to enable spreaders and plows to do their jobs and added that the fast snow accumulation-up to three inches per hour-“really creates a challenge for Sanitation.”
He reported that heavy snowfall will continue into late afternoon and that he anticipates city schools will be open tomorrow.
Alternate side street parking will be canceled on Friday and Saturday.
“I would like to emphasize the dangerous conditions,” the mayor said. “If you don’t have to be on the roads, don’t be on the roads. For your safety and so sanitation can do their jobs. It will be tough driving for the next few days.”
The mayor noted that the wind chill will be make the temperature feel like -20 degrees until Monday.
MTA buses and subways are running with some delays. All ferry service is canceled until tomorrow, except for the Staten Island ferry. The Verazzano Bridge is banning trucks during the storm.
The mayor urged residents without heat or hot water to call 311 if their management service is not responding. The city will send out personnel to fix it and charge the management service.
He said to take precautions when using space heaters and stated not to use the oven as a source of heat.
The city is monitoring a situation at NYCHA apartments in Woodside. There are 1,300 apartment without gas. The mayor that said due to the nature of the heat in NYCHA buildings, “it will take a while for them to cool down. So we have some time.”