Queens and the rest of New York City came to a halt after a few inches of snow hit the city yesterday.
Clogged highways and the delayed public transportation caused commutes that would normally take 20 minutes to take three to six hours in many cases. All week, weather reports predicted snow for Nov. 15, but it seemed as though elected officials and city agencies were grossly unprepared for the snowfall.
According to the National Weather Service, Queens neighborhoods received anywhere from 3 to nearly 6 inches of snow. Areas like Whitestone and Astoria got 5.4 and 5.7 inches respectively, while Flushing and Middle Village residents reportedly saw 3 to 3.2 inches of snow.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation took to social media yesterday morning to give updates about weather conditions and snow plows, warning commuters to be cautious in the slippery conditions.
Heaviest snow will fall between 3 PM and 6 PM with potentially fast accumulation. The snow will turn into rain in the evening, so roads will be slippery throughout rush hour. Please exercise caution. pic.twitter.com/j7V00nQScZ
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 15, 2018
Winter weather is on the way! ❄ We are (and will be) monitoring conditions through the day and into the night. Our salt spreaders are ready, but please be safe if you must go out. ❄ pic.twitter.com/x8ZHF7U6c6
— NYC Sanitation (@NYCSanitation) November 15, 2018
Despite the mayor advertising the PlowNYC website to track snow plow progress, NYC residents reported that they had not seen plows or salt spreaders during their multi-hour commutes. Though weather conditions were fairly tame, New Yorkers criticized the mayor and the city for their poor preparation, which they said exacerbated the situation. Others posted commute updates on the road, showing photos of standstill traffic and packed train stations.
The City clearly didn’t properly prepare for tonight’s snowstorm — it’s a mess. My office will be following up with the Department of Sanitation to demand answers.
— Scott M. Stringer (@NYCComptroller) November 16, 2018
It started snowing at 2pm…. I just finally saw a snow plow and salt spreader on the main thoroughfare by my house in Queens… it’s now 9:00pm… that’s just way too slow… sorry… as the looks of it… NYC was not prepared for this…
— Truth Daddy (@truthdaddynyc) November 16, 2018
Jamaica Center transportation hub of SE Queens was an absolute parking lot tonight. (E,J train)(Q4,Q5,Q6,Q8,Q9,Q20A/B,Q24,Q25,Q30,Q31,Q34,Q41,Q42,Q44SBS, Q65, Q83, Q84,Q85,Q110, Q111, Q112, Q113, Q114)
We are better than this NYC.
— Tristan Ellis (@TristanAMEllis) November 16, 2018
Snow caused trees to fall all over the city, with Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens reporting the most fallen trees.
Service Requests for Down and Damaged Trees:
Staten Island: 38
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) November 16, 2018
it’s crazy out here in woodside queens. lots of trees down. pic.twitter.com/4Kl6gVnbZM
— Mandy 🇵🇷 (@wdsd55) November 16, 2018
This morning New Yorkers were faced with train delays and residual traffic from last night’s snowfall. Many schools in the tri-state area had delayed starts or were closed altogether but the Department of Education canceled planned field trips and after-school programs across the five boroughs.