About a half-foot of snow is already on the ground in most of New York City, and the worst from this big nor’easter is yet to come, according to forecasters.
The flakes began falling Sunday night and are expected to continue through Tuesday, with snowfall totals expected to reach between 16 and 24 inches across the five boroughs by the time the storm clears out, the National Weather Service predicted.
The brunt of the nor’easter is expected to hit later Monday, with snowfall totals reaching between 2 and 4 inches per hour accompanied by winds of 20 to 40 mph. Minor to moderate coastal flooding is also expected along the city’s shores, particularly in Queens, during high tide.
With hazardous conditions in the forecast, the city wants New Yorkers to stay off the roads. Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an emergency declaration Sunday night restricting all non-essential travel as of 6 a.m. on Feb. 1 to keep the roads clear for snow removal operations and emergency vehicles.
“New Yorkers should stay home, keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles and let our plows work to keep us all safe,” de Blasio said.
The Sanitation Department has been at it from the get-go, salting streets before the storm hit and sending its army of plows and salt spreaders out in the snow. And they’ve got a long way to go.
Ops Update: We fought a 5-6 inch snowstorm overnight; fighting an addtl. 12 inch snowstorm today; may have a 3 inch snowstorm overnight tonight into tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/i3EOfv1sfy
— NYC Sanitation (@NYCSanitation) February 1, 2021
If you have to go out, the city advises using public transit. The MTA warns that riders should expect delays on all subway and bus lines, as well as potential weather-related service cancellations.
The snowstorm is also disrupting COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts in the five boroughs. All scheduled vaccinations for Monday have been postponed due to the weather; those with appointments will be rescheduled for later in the week.
Outdoor dining is also suspended, as restaurants were ordered to remove seating areas from the roadbeds to allow for snow removal.
All New York City public school buildings are closed — but the classes are going on remotely. The “snow day” appears to be a thing of the past.
This story originally appeared on amny.com.