The first snow storm

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

January 3, 2014 1:29:27 PM PST
A third of the country today is shoveling, sweeping, and slipping around. About 100 million people were in the path of last night's Nor'easter, and we're told at least 11 died - most in weather-related traffic accidents.

But the timing - overnight on a holiday week for so many people - and the accurate forecasts with plenty of advance warning, made this a storm that remarkably survivable. Yes the brutal cold is dangerous, but go ahead - look at the parks - and you'll find kids aplenty, bundled up but having fun. As kids should do.

Lots of debate and buzz and discussion about how New York's new Mayor, on the job just 3 days, has handled his first storm. The streets seem cleared for the most part, but there's no question there were fewer salt trucks and scrapers in Manhattan than usually. Mayor de Blasio said that's because Queens and Brooklyn had more snow (10 inches vs. 6-8 inches) - but if you look at social media you'll see a sense that the "outer boros" are finally getting equity with Manhattan in terms of maintenance preference. The sidewalks in many spots in the outer boros are still not cleared - and they are in Manhattan, where commercial and large residential buildings have staff that clear the walks. But few in the outer boros are complaining.

And - consider this - what if this Nor'easter had roared in on Feb. 2 instead of Jan. 2? Roared in when the eyes of the sports world - and so many millions of others - will be on New York and New Jersey and Met Life Stadium for the Super Bowl? I know the NFL is chest-puffing that they're prepared for anything - but there's never been a Super Bowl in an uncovered outdoor stadium in a cold-weather city. Can you imagine playing pro sports' biggest event in this stuff? Or sitting in 16 degree weather? I'm just askin'.

We're all over the storm clean up and the cold tonight at 11. Meteorologist Jeff Smith, in for Lee Goldberg, leads our coverage.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, after 20/20.


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