New York City was bracing for high winds and up to a foot of snow that could create dangerous conditions late Friday and Saturday. And the city’s new mayor, Eric Adams, said he was up to the challenge.
Mr Adams donned a Sanitation Department hat and parka for a Friday afternoon press conference during which he warned drivers to stay off the roads. As the trucks were ready, he said the city’s Covid testing and vaccination sites would be closed on Saturday and outdoor dining would be suspended. But he was quick to add that restaurants could remain open for indoor dining.
“One of the best ways to navigate the snow is to go indoors and spend money on our restaurants,” Adams said.
Christina Farrell, acting commissioner of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, encouraged residents to promptly call reports of downed trees or heat and hot water outages, and to register for the service. Notify NYC text messaging from the city for weather-related updates. . She noted that temperatures are expected to drop sharply, with wind chills near freezing on Saturday evening.
Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency in the southern part of the state, including New York City, beginning at 8 p.m. Friday.
Long Island was expected to receive more snowfall than the city, with accumulations of 10 to 16 inches possible, and a blizzard warning was issued for Suffolk County. The Long Island Rail Road announced it would suspend service on all branches on Saturday. In a statement, Ms. Hochul warned that winds could exceed 50 miles per hour and urged New Yorkers to avoid non-essential travel.
The state Department of Transportation warned motorists not to exceed 45 miles per hour on the Long Island Freeway and Long Island State Parkways during the storm. Tow trucks were positioned in Syosset, Riverhead, Medford, Hampton Bays, Central Islip, Melville and North Merrick to help eliminate accidents on national highways.
At the city’s news conference, Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said more than 700 salt spreaders had already taken to the streets by Friday afternoon and about 1,800 would be deployed in total. Fine, powdery snow and high winds could create “whiteout conditions” during the storm, particularly at night, he warned.
Mr. Grayson said his department applied “liquid brine pre-treatment” to more than 700 miles of city roads before the first snow began to fall, and had plenty of salt on hand.
“Every block in New York is on a route, and we intend to complete all routes,” he said. The department’s workforce was in “mandatory staffing” with less than 10% of employees absent, a lower rate of absences than at the start of the pandemic, he said.
Mr. Adams said he wanted to “be visible” and would visit areas of the city like Brownsville, East New York and Staten Island to watch for the storm.
“Generals don’t lead their troops from behind,” he said.