Queens braces for the deep freeze

Queens braces for the deep freeze
By the TimesLedger Staff

As the cold weather front bore down on Queens Monday, a major airline canceled all flights to Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, but the MTA said subway and LIRR service would continue without interruption.

The temperature hovered in the low 40s in the early evening, but forecasters warned that the mercury would plummet to 9 degrees during the night with the high only reaching 14 Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Port Authority, which runs both JFK and LaGuardia, said both airports would remain open. JetBlue ended all flights out of the airports at 1 p.m. Monday until 10 a.m. Tuesday to give its crew and service members adequate rest after widespread delays around the country because of the inclement weather. JetBlue will resume operations gradually Tuesday. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said, “Clearly the airline is an important part of our infrastructure and it’s important to have them back up and running as soon as possible, but safe travel is very important.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said trains will run as usual and will not be affected by the cold weather. The MTA assured commuters it has equipment in place to deal with frigid temperatures. Signal heaters will be turned on to make sure signals and switches do not freeze over and de-icers will be used on outdoor rail portions.

The Long Island Rail Road will be operating normally and its indoor waiting rooms will remain open 24 hours a day throughout the system, the MTA said.

The city Department of Education warned parents and students to be prepared for any transportation emergencies that may occur as a result of the bone-chilling conditions.

“Unexpected mechanical problems with the bus may occur more frequently at this time of year,” an alert sent out by the office of pupil transportation said. “Children should be accompanied to the bus stop or have very clear instructions on what to do if the bus does not arrive. Never leave children at the stop with no backup arrangements for an emergency.”

The DOE was also warning parents and students to take extra precautions at bus stops to make sure they were free of hazards like ice and snow.

Faced with the impending cold wave, Mayor de Blasio invoked the Code Blue policy, which gives homeless families and individuals access to 24-hour drop-in centers and allows them to be assigned to shelters without having to be processed through the central intake office.

Borough President Katz said, “We’re in touch with the administration to make sure our side streets are properly salted, the Mayor’s office has been very responsive.”

She added that people who don’t have heat should call 311,

“All shelters are open but I think it’s important that if you see someone in stress, call 311 and report it yourself,” Katz said.

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