Fast-moving winter storm blankets Tri-State with snow

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Friday, January 7, 2022
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N.J. Burkett has more on the snow from Long Island City.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A fast moving snowstorm blanketed parts of the Tri-State Area with upwards of 9 inches of snow overnight Friday, closing hundreds of schools and making for a treacherous morning commute.

The storm also brought high winds, prompting Winter Storm warnings for Suffolk County on Long Island and Monmouth and Ocean counties in New Jersey, as well as advisories across the area.

Travel was difficult with hazardous conditions in some areas, with the peak snowfall between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Glen Cove on Long Island posted the highest local snow total with 9.3 inches, while 8.3 inches fell at LaGuardia Airport in Queens.

RELATED | Snow totals for the Tri-State area

But by mid-morning, even the side streets were no longer snow covered -- slushy and wet, but mostly clear down to the blacktop. In Manhattan, buses rolled up the avenues on time this morning, and major highways like the FDR Drive were wet but wide open.

Officials credited the Department of Sanitation, whose workers outperformed themselves despite the fact that one in five is out with COVID-19.

"Right now, our key moment of concern for us, where we are going to be focusing on as we get into this new shift, is getting into the residential side streets and giving them another pass," Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said.

Mayor Eric Adams insisted on keeping schools open.

"We close the schools at 3 to 6 inches?" he said. "What do we do for those parents that can't stay home? We are calling for children to come to school. That is the safest and best place for a child."

In Connecticut, New Canaan, Norwalk, Bridgeport, Weston and Greenwich all saw more than 8 inches of accumulation, while West Freehold and Closter topped local New Jersey snow totals with around 7.5 inches.

Plows did their best to keep the roads as safe as possible, but drivers said some roads were still difficult to navigate.

Gov. Phil Murphy declared a State of Emergency due to the storm. State offices had a delayed opening of 11 a.m., and high winds later Friday were expected to cause potential power problems.

Anthony Johnson has more on snow conditions in New Jersey:

In Connecticut, all state office buildings are closed to the public.

Gov. Kathy Hochul advised New Yorkers to avoid unnecessary travel, and people were urged to use mass transit when they could.

School Closures

All Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of New York were closed for a traditional snow day, though New York City public schools and school buildings remained open. The city said all programs and activities would be held as scheduled.

Dozens of schools announced closures or delayed openings for Friday morning. Click here for a full list.

Vaccine and Testing Sites Delay Opening

The New York State Department of Health announced the state's vaccination and testing sites in New York City and Long Island delayed opening until noon Friday, including:

Individuals with testing appointments were directly notified and asked to reschedule if need be. People with vaccination appointments were notified to come later in the day, or they could reschedule or walk in at another time.

MTA Preparations:

The MTA urged customers to avoid non-essential travel ahead. Metro-North is operating on a Saturday schedule with additional trains during morning and evening peak periods, and the agency says all articulated buses have been fitted with chains.

MTA employees were spreading salt and clearing surfaces of snow, keeping signals, switches, and third rail operating, and were attending to any weather-related challenges.

"While we are encouraging riders to avoid non-essential travel, the subway, bus and paratransit system will be running for those who need it," New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano said. "Subway crews will be out before, during and after the storm to make sure staircases and platforms are clear. On buses, articulated buses will be fitted for chains ahead of the Friday morning rush hour. We will continue to carefully monitor road conditions and will be working with our partners at the New York City Department of Sanitation to make sure bus routes are passable."

DSNY Snow Alert:

The DSNY Snow Alert means trash and recycling is delayed during snow removal, and Mayor Eric Adams announced that Alternate Side Parking regulations are suspended through Saturday to facilitate snow operations.

Officials said 22% of the department was out sick as of Thursday, but that number was fluid and fluctuating each day.

"We ask all New Yorkers to give us the time we need, remember the men and women who are going to be fighting the storm for you are also the men and women who pick up your refuse and recycling, so we will be in a service delay as we respond to the storm," Grayson said. "However, our head count -- despite COVID outages -- is very very adequate for this storm. We are going to have thousands of sanitation workers out there plowing, salting and making sure New York City is safe."

The city says Open Restaurants roadway dining may operate as normal during the storm if the business owner deems it is safe to do so. To prevent damage from the weight of snow, restaurants should remove the tops of structures if possible or regularly clear snow off, without putting it back into the street.

While the DSNY's initial focus during an active snow event is to keep the roadways clear for emergency vehicles to ensure New Yorkers never lose access to critical medical, fire and police services, plowing and salting of bike lanes will begin after the emergency roadway work is underway. Protected bike lanes will be pretreated with brine and cleared as quickly as possible. Property owners may not move snow from sidewalks into bike lanes.

City officials are reminding property owners, including restaurants with outdoor dining structures, that they may not push snow into the street, including bike lanes. Snow may be moved against the building, to the curb line, or areas on private property.

Sidewalks should be passable for all pedestrians, including a minimum 4-foot clear path, where possible.

Con Edison safety tips:

-Do not go near downed wires. Treat downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move them or touch them with any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by snow, tree limbs, leaves or water.

-Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you're in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.

-Members of the public should also avoid transformers that are brought to the ground. The transformers are gray metal drums attached to the wires and poles.

-Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing and using a portable generator. Never plug a generator into a wall unit, use it indoors, or set it up outdoors near open home windows or air-handling vents.

-If your power goes out, disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored. If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.

-Charge your cellphones and other mobile devices while you have power.

-Make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios are working. Have a supply of extra batteries. Weather updates and news on electrical service can be heard on local radio and television stations.

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