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Boro prepares for blizzard as travel restrictions are put in place

By TimesLedger Staff

By Juan Soto

Queens residents are facing Juno, the first blizzard of the year, with travel bans, limited public transportation service, public school closings and other cancellations.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced service changes Monday for subways, buses, LIRR and MetroNorth, as Mayor Bill de Blasio said non-emergency vehicles should be off the roads by 11 p.m. Monday.

As snow fell in the morning and intensified in the early afternoon hours, officials said they expected to have about 3 or 4 inches of snow during the day, with heavy snow coming around the evening commute.

And then comes the worse.

The National Weather Service said snowfalls between 2 and 4 inches per hour were expected late Monday night into Tuesday morning. The agency said the expected accumulation after the snowfall for the city would be about 24 inches.

New York public schools were open Monday, but all after-school programs were canceled.

De Blasio said schools were going to be closed Tuesday, while Tuesday’s Regents examinations were also canceled and will be rescheduled.

“We want to put safety first,” de Blasio said. “We have to recognize this is an emergency. This is not business as usual.”

He noted the Sanitation Department has about 1,800 plows to clear 6,000 miles of city streets.

“We can help by getting off the road,” he said, referring to the travel ban for drivers after 11 p.m. He said it was necessary so Sanitation workers can clear the streets and have better access to them.

De Blasio said the expected amount of snowfall from Juno was down to 2 feet from the originally forecast 3 feet.

“We are now expecting 2 feet of snow, but that can change,” the mayor said. “We are preparing at least for that.”

He pointed out alternate side of the street was also canceled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cuomo told New Yorkers to get home as soon as they can in preparation for the worst of the heavy snow and blizzard-like conditions.

“This is not a storm to take lightly,” he said.

Cuomo announced that, according to “the current plan,” the subways will begin to shut down after 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. in order for the Metropolitan Transit Authority to get train cars into underground express subways tracks. Service cuts were to follow.

The LIRR and MetroNorth will shut down after 11 p.m., Cuomo said.

“In general, we curtail LIRR service if the snow accumulates up to 10-13 inches. For this blizzard and the weather predictions made, we will stop service at 11 p.m.,” said a spokesman for the MTA.

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At the airports, over 1,000 flights were cancelled Monday.

According to the website FlightAware, at LaGuardia there were 680 flights cancelled, as as of 12 p.m. Monday, there were at least 47 flights delayed.

At JFK, 481 flights were cancelled, and 70 were delayed.

On Tuesday, LaGuardia, according to the website, will cancel 649 flights, and at JFK the number of cancellations will be 498.

The Queens Library announced that its locations were to be closed at 5 p.m. Monday.

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