New York officials are urging caution ahead of a major snowstorm that’s expected to sweep across the Tri-State area this weekend.
A blizzard watch has been issued for New York City, Long Island and parts of New Jersey from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon with up to 12 inches of snow possible in some spots.
despite the popular usage of the word, a blizzard watch does not really have anything to do with snow totals.
In meteorological terms, a storm is classified as a blizzard if for three hours or more, winds reach speeds of 35 mph, blowing snow is present, and visibility amounts to 0.25 miles or less.
The National Weather Service also issued winter storm watches for the interior portions of northeast New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley, where 4 to 8 inches of snow could fall by Sunday morning.
A coastal flood watch has also been issued for all coastal sections of the Tri-State Area.
On Thursday, the storm system – which had been over Wichita, Kansas a day earlier – dropped southward to the Gulf of Mexico and picked up copious moisture. The storm ended up being so severe that tornado watches were issued for some of the Gulf Coast states on Thursday.
Winter storm watches and warnings have been issued in several East Coast states and counties. A blizzard warning was issued for the Washington, D.C. area, where the storm is expected to be worst.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a hazardous travel advisory starting Saturday morning.
“New Yorkers should be ready for a big storm this weekend, should make the precautions now,” de Blasio said during a news conference Thursday morning.
De Blasio admitted that it’s been an easy winter so far, but said New Yorkers have to shake any sense of complacency.
“Anyone who has the illusion that they’re going to be taking big trips on Saturday and Sunday, get that out of your mind. It’s not happening,” de Blasio said. “I think people need to take this very seriously and recognize that this is a real thing.”
New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said there could be white out conditions.
“We do anticipate that we will have blizzard conditions with gale force winds and we really encourage people to stay at home during those type of conditions,” she said.
The mayor said the Department of Sanitation will be pre-deploying 579 salt spreaders Friday evening and said 1,650 plows will be dispatched once more than two inches of snow hits the ground. There will be another 135 plows helping out from other departments.
Sanitation workers will also begin 12-hour split shifts starting Friday morning with 2,400 workers per shift. More than 300,000 tons of rock salt is also on hand.
“I have every confidence that the Department of Sanitation and all its sister agencies are ready to handle this,” the mayor said.
Read more at CBS LOCAL NEW YORK.