Monday’s nor’easter is now a state of emergency as the rate of snowfall in the metropolitan effort is expected to overtake the state’s capacity to keep up, Governor Andrew Cuomo and transportation leaders announced.
Above-ground subway service came to a halt at 2 p.m. today, while Long Island Rail Road service at Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal will see the last trains depart between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg and MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.
“If you are not home, and you need to get home, you need to start making your way there. Now, we want to get to 2 p.m., but don’t wait. Don’t wait for that last train that’s going to service the outdoor portions,” Feinberg said. “We have every contingency plan in place, but for now we are not planning for [suspensions] on buses. We continue to operate because the roads are both passable and visibility is OK for now, but also conditions are deteriorating there as well. And so please plan for us to have to suspend some bus routes at some point in the coming hours. We will again message to our customers as we have to suspend service and we will be focused on restarting service as soon as we possibly can.”
The Long Island Expressway and a number of other freeways could close as well in the next few hours as the rate of snowfall – about two inches per hour – is clearly higher than snowplows can keep up, according to Cuomo.
“This snowstorm is predicted to do over two inches per hour. Why is that relevant, snow plows cannot keep up with two inches per hour. Which means, even if you deploy all the plows in frequency, you can’t keep the roads clear at two inches per hour. So it’s the rate of snowfall. It’s the total accumulation, which is problematic in this case,” Cuomo said. “We’re looking at a long, two days here. I have declared a state of emergency for 44 counties in New York state. Basically, all the counties outside of western New York state of emergency has a number of consequences, but from a citizen point of view. If you are not an essential worker, you should not be on the roads.”
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Rick Cotton announced that Port Authority Trans-Hudson service by 3 p.m. as all commuters are asked to simply stay home.
As Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning, the Staten Island Ferry is on a reduced schedule for now but still operating. Feinberg said the Staten Island Railway is expected to continue moving people, though riders should prepare similar suspensions.
This story originally appeared on amny.com.