UPDATED AT 10:45
When the snow stopped at around 4 a.m., 19 inches of snow were measured in Central Park, twice the amount given in forecasts, said Mayor Bloomberg.
The snowiest January in New York City history isn’t over yet, and has already tallied 36 inches since the beginning of this year.
“Because heavy snow fell in the City overnight, all non-emergency City government offices are closed for today, in addition to all public schools,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York City almost never takes a snow day, but today is one of those rare days. People should stay at home and off the roads.”
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The weather brought on only the ninth snow-related school closing since 1978.
Bloomberg said a combination of safety and practicality reasons factored into the decision to close schools.
School closings also affected thousands of students scheduled to take Regents exams today and Chancellor Black said that rescheduled exams will take place in June.
For a few hundred students who need the exams in order to graduate in January, arrangements will be made, said Black.
Students and parents should assume that schools will be open tomorrow.
Emergency services such as police, fire and hospitals are open, and alternate side parking, meters and garbage collection are suspended until further notice.
Bloomberg said clearing the streets remains the top priority and that “it would be very helpful to not get into cars,” and risk getting stuck.
He warned again that cars stuck in snowdrifts will be towed at the owner’s expense.
The mayor said he expects all streets to be plowed by Friday morning and that over 1,700 sanitation trucks are at work right now. He also cautioned those that are shoveling to take it easy and not to throw snow into the middle of the street.
People are urged to use 3-1-1 and nyc.gov for updates and information, and to save 9-1-1 for true emergencies.
Buses are slowly regaining service right at the heels of sanitation trucks plowing the streets and the mayor announced that although there were stuck trains, none were there overnight and there were almost no stuck buses.
The Metro-North is running a weekend schedule and the LIRR has restored limited service to all lines except for Hempstead.
For updates on public transit, visit mta.info
When one asked about Groundhog Day coming up soon, Bloomberg replied, “I cannot wait.”
Snow shuts schools down
UPDATED AT 10:45