Snowstorm intensifying in Queens and NYC; governor declares state of emergency

Photo: Robert Pozarycki/QNS

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for New York City and is urging residents to prepare for intense winter weather to continue through Wednesday night.

“The National Weather Service forecast, as you know, is for a winter storm watch and they were correct. We have a winter storm in process now. It is effecting the downstate area from the Mid-Hudson down with a range of accumulations in that area,” Cuomo said. “The snowfall is lighter this morning. It will get heavier as we go through the day. So it is somewhat deceptive. People shouldn’t look out the window at this level of snowfall and say, this is no problem, I can venture out. It’s going to get worse in the afternoon, worse in the evening. Even this level is dangerous.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging NYC residents to stay off the roads so snow operations can be completed.

“As the storm intensifies, travel conditions will be tremendously difficult through the evening,” de Blasio said. “We urge New Yorkers to stay off the roads – if you do not need to be out, do not go out. Let us give our Sanitation crews the opportunity to do their jobs effectively.”

De Blasio has been out and about the city checking on conditions. Among his stops was Middle Village, where he and Councilman Robert Holden toured local businesses along Metropolitan Avenue. Check out the mayor’s visit on his Facebook page.

The City’s Emergency Management Department issued a hazardous travel advisory for March 21. They are working closely with the National Weather Service to monitor the storm’s track to determine the impacts to New York City.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has dispatched 693 salt spreaders and has activated PlowNYC. They will dispatch 1,500 plows when more than two inches of snow accumulates, with additional plows available if necessary. Normal garbage and recycling collections will be  delayed during snow removal.

NYC Parks will lend the DSNY 44 plows with operators and will prepare an additional 150 plows, 150 salt spreaders and other equipment for snow removal on park perimeters. The Department of Transportation will also assist the DSNY with plowing.

Additionally, 300 New York National Guard service members have been activated and will be deployed to areas impacted by the storm. Following recent weather events, the governor directed rapid response teams comprised of Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North and utility company personnel to be prepared to address downed wires or power failures.

The Department of Transportation announced that the Alternate Side Parking Regulations will be suspended on Wednesday, March 21, and Thursday, March 22, to facilitate snow operations. Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the city.

All winter weather information and information about the city’s response to the storm can be found by visiting the city’s severe weather website at www.nyc.gov/severeweather or by calling 311. New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for the Notify NYC, the city’s free emergency notification system. To sign up for Notify NYC, call 311, visit www.nyc.gov or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

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