More than 50 million Americans from the mid-Atlantic to northern New England are bracing for a major winter storm that could bring the biggest snowfall in years in New York City.
The five boroughs could see more than a foot of snow fall in just 24 hours, with Mayor Bill de Blasio warning New Yorkers to take the storm seriously.
“We haven’t had a lot of storms like this in recent years, thank goodness. We have seen much less snowfall than a few years ago, ”the mayor said on Tuesday. “So this could be the biggest storm in several years. ”
Major Nor’easter could dump at least three to six inches of snow over an area stretching from Maine to Virginia and far into Ohio.
The most severe snowfall will cover large areas of eastern Pennsylvania and the Hudson Valley, with totals of up to two feet.
The governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey have declared a state of emergency, asking residents to stay in their homes if they can. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he plans to do the same for counties north of New York from 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The storm’s rapid pace takes it down the Interstate-95 corridor in just 24 hours, but it will still drop two to three inches of snow per hour in places.
There is a widespread threat of blackouts in northern New Jersey, suburbs of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
In New York City, the mayor said with the advent of distance learning during the pandemic, there would be no snow day for city public school students, but in-person classes will be probably suspended Thursday.
Testing for Covid-19 at clinics across the city will be halted for about 24 hours, but the mayor has said the storm will not affect the deployment of the coronavirus vaccine.
With possible blizzard-like conditions, people were asked to avoid driving if possible.
The storm is another blow to the city’s restaurants, which will suspend outdoor dining for the duration, just two days after losing permission to serve diners indoors at 25% of capacity, due to of the increase in Covid-19 cases.
With so many restaurants having built shelters to allow meals at all times on sidewalks and in parking spaces, one wonders if this will affect snow removal. Homeowners have been instructed to remove all furniture and equipment and to minimize their footprint where possible.
The city has sought to reassure homeowners that the sanitation department, which is responsible for snow removal, has a variety of equipment at its disposal, and has planned ahead, mapping out where these structures interfere with the roadway.
In January 2016, a snowfall of 27.5 inches was recorded in Central Park and New York, practically at a standstill, with many subway services suspended and private vehicles banned from the streets as plows. snow fought to keep the roads clear.
Despite all the experience the city has in dealing with winter storms, timing can sometimes be everything.
When six inches of snow fell just before the evening rush hour on November 15, 2018, New York City and northern New Jersey were crippled by fallen trees, car crashes and traffic jams that kept people out. snow plows to do their job.