Crews cleanup after snow storm

January 21, 2012 6:44:12 PM PST
The first winter storm of the season dropped several inches of snow across the New York area on Saturday.

4.3 inches of snow accumulated in Central Park.

New York City had 1,500 snow plows at the ready, each equipped with global positioning systems that will allow supervisors to see their approximate location on command maps updated every 30 seconds, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a morning news conference.

The equipment was installed last year following a disaster of a storm that struck the day after Christmas of 2010, when even the city's plows were stuck and stranded in drifts, and streets remained impassable for days. Bloomberg said the GPS system has already led to "vastly improved communication" between supervisors and plow operators.

Alternate side parking in New York City has been suspended citywide to facilitate snow removal.

"We've been very lucky, so we can't complain," said Gloria Fernandez of New York City, as she shoveled the sidewalk outside her workplace. "It's nice, it's fluffy and it's on the weekend," she said of the snow.

Crews in New Jersey began salting roads around midnight and plowing soon after.

Snow and sleet began falling across the state early Saturday, and 3 to 8 inches of snow was on the ground in northern Jersey by 4 p.m. About 1 to 4 inches had fallen in central Jersey, while southern areas had mostly seen just rain.

Few accidents were reported on the roads, helped by the weekend's lack of rush hour traffic, but New Jersey transportation spokesman Joe Dee cautioned drivers to build in more time for trips. Though temperatures will warm up this afternoon he said, forecasters expect the wet ground to freeze again overnight.

North of the City, several inches of snow fell in Westchester County creating dangerous driving conditions.

According to the National Weather Service, the fast-moving storm left a foot of snow in North Haven, Connecticut while Haddam in Middlesex County got 11 inches.

The totals dropped significantly to the north, where Hartford got around two inches.

As always, some welcomed the snow.

Enough accumulated through the week for snowmobiling and ice fishing in New Hampshire, where cross-country ski trails and snowshoeing were open at Bretton Woods and other trails.


NYC Transit Subways and Buses

Additional personnel have been brought in for snow fighting duty, the Incident Command Center is up and running, and Local Storm Fighting Centers are manned and activated.

Some weekend work has been canceled, however, the critical capital work being performed in the Steinway Tube will continue as planned, so 7 line riders should be mindful that planned service diversions remain in effect, meaning that N and Q line service is the best way to travel from Queens Plaza to Manhattan and shuttle bus service will be making the connection between Vernon-Jackson and Hunters Point Ave. stations and Queens Plaza.

New Jersey Transit

All customers are strongly advised to check before traveling for up-to-the-minute service information before starting their trip.

To give customers additional travel options, NJ TRANSIT is offering full systemwide cross-honoring all day, enabling customers to use their ticket or pass on an alternate travel mode - rail, bus (NJ TRANSIT and private carriers) or light rail. For example, customers who normally take the bus from Rutherford to the Port Authority Bus Terminal may use their bus pass on the train from Rutherford to New York Penn Station. Similarly, customers who normally take the bus between Atlantic City and Lindenwold may use the Atlantic City Rail Line instead at no additional charge.

Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad

The railroads has activated switch heaters, treat switches and third rails with anti-freeze agents and has personnel stationed at key locations. Snow fighting material is dispatched to stations and crews will be positioned to be ready to clear platforms and stairways.

The railroads is also operating electric trains equipped with special scraper shoes to help reduce icing on the third rail and ensure that electric trains can draw their power properly. Employees are also spraying door panels with anti-freeze and purging air brake lines of moisture to prevent them from freezing. LIRR station waiting rooms will be kept open around-the-clock to provide shelter for customers waiting for trains.

Bridges and Tunnels

MTA Bridges and Tunnels has prepared and put into position its fleet of 102 snow-fighting trucks and other pieces of heavy equipment. In addition, MTA Bridges and Tunnels uses a system of technologically-advanced weather sensors to help keep motorists safe. All seven MTA bridges use small, rocket-like atmospheric weather sensors that deliver highly-accurate weather information, including wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation, via wireless communication. Other sensors are embedded in the roadway and on the snow-fighting trucks to monitor icing conditions on the roadways.

New York City Information

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 or by calling 311. Residents also are encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC alerts, which provide information about severe weather events and emergencies, by signing up for email or text message alerts at or following by @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

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