New York – All nonemergency vehicles have been banned from the roads as until further notice and New York City public schools are closed Tuesday.
The travel ban took effect at 11 p.m. Monday. While there was a brief lull in the storm during the evening hours, forecasts call for up 2 feet of snow for New York City proper – with some models calling for more. The worst is expected in the early morning hours Tuesday.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway trains and buses, Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road were also shut down at 11 p.m. Roads in the southernmost 13 New York state counties were also placed under a travel ban that began at the same time, and violators could be fined up to $300, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier.
Early, Mayor de Blasio advised everyone in the city to take precautions and be very careful. While the weather had briefly calmed down around 7 p.m., the mayor warned that the trend would not last.
“It’s about to start in earnest, and when it does, it’s going to come very fast, very hard, and people have to be careful,” the mayor said. “Stay off the streets. Stay off the sidewalks.”
NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill said those violating the driving ban could end up with a ticket, or in the worst-case scenario, be arrested.
Mayor de Blasio also advised anyone who did not have to be outside to avoid walking on the sidewalks, as snow was expected to fall at a rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour with a winds picking up to what could approach hurricane levels.
By 9 p.m., Penn Station was nearly abandoned.
NJ TRANSIT sent out its last trains at 8 p.m. The last Metro-North trains were to depart between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., depending on the station destination, and the last LIRR trains were expected to reach Suffolk County around 12:30 a.m.
The city ordered 40 percent more ambulances to be on the roads, and 500 extra firefighters.
Meanwhile in the school system, the mayor said Regents exams are being canceled and will be rescheduled. All after-school activities and programs scheduled for Monday were also canceled.
NY Subway service shut down completely at 11 p.m., and the streets were desolate.
New York City taxis were also parked and out of commission for the night, following the travel ban.
Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Transportation announced that alternate-side parking regulations will be suspended through Wednesday to facilitate snow removal.
Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the city.
A blizzard warning is in effect for the metropolitan area through midnight Wednesday night. The “potentially historic” storm could bury communities in up to 4 or more feet of snow.