Queens only gets about a foot of snow after massive blizzard predicted for city

Umbrella 4
THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Updated 3:22 p.m. 

Public transit service has resumed and streets are open to normal traffic again after a storm that was expected to bring a substantial amount of snow to New York City turned out to be far less impactful than predicted.

“Put simply, we got about half as much as what a lot of the projections had been, or even under half as much.” Mayor de Blasio said at a storm briefing Tuesday.

The storm was as large and real as expected, but moved eastward, hitting Long Island a lot harder, the mayor emphasized.

“Things turned out a lot better than we feared, but we were prepared,” he said, defending the city’s snow preparations, including shutting down mass transit and banning non-emergency vehicles from local streets.

Snow totals for the city were forecast as high as 30 inches at times, but as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, totals in Queens reached a foot at the most, according to local weather reports.

After announcing a state of emergency and travel ban on all state and local roads for 13 New York counties starting at 11 p.m. Monday for all non-emergency vehicles, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the ban in most of those counties, including all the five boroughs, as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

While passable, the roads are not clear, Cuomo stressed during a storm briefing that morning.

“If [travel is] nonessential we wouldn’t recommend it,” he said.

The vehicle ban included New York City streets, and De Blasio also cautioned motorists to be careful, especially in eastern Queens, which experienced the brunt of the storm.

The storm, known as Juno, also prompted the MTA to shut down its entire subway, bus and commuter rail systems at 11 p.m. Monday. It was reportedly the first time the transit agency has suspended service for snow.

After suspending transit overnight, the MTA resumed subway and bus service at 9 a.m. and was running on a Sunday schedule by noon, which is about 60 percent of weekday service. The Long Island Rail Road started operating on its electrified branches around 12 p.m. with a weekend schedule. 

Full MTA weekday service is expected to be back on Wednesday.

Life in the city also started to return to normal Tuesday morning when its parks reopened after closing the previous evening because of fears over falling branches.

The city’s public schools, however, were closed on Tuesday. They will be open on Wednesday.

Alternate side parking is suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday to help with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect. Garbage and recycling collection is also suspended on those days, but it’s not clear yet when it will resume.

The Department of Sanitation continued to clear the city’s 6,000 miles of streets as the storm headed out Tuesday, with personnel on 12-hour shifts and 2,300 pieces of equipment deployed.

To track the progress of snow clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.