Updated: Students of all ages across New York City are ignoring their alarm clocks this morning, as city public schools and many yeshivos are closed due to the massive winter storm that continues to plod over the tri-state area.
The treacherous winter blast is delivering a powerful dose of wet snow, heavy rain with flooding potential and damaging winds near 50 mph.
City Hall sources said on Thursday that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was confident that city plows could have streets clean and school custodians could have the sidewalks cleared in time for classes this morning. But as conditions deteriorated overnight into the early morning hours, it became clear that making kids venture out into the blizzard-like storm would be dangerous.
One day after sections of New Jersey, New York dealt with upward of 20 inches of snow and portions of northern New England weathered heavy rains that pushed some rivers toward flood levels, more of the same was forecast throughout today. The latest winter storm was packing heavy snow that could dump a foot or more in some areas and powerful, potentially damaging winds that could cause power outages and complicate any cleanup.
The slow-moving storm by this morning had dumped about 10 inches of snow in New York City, where a man was killed by a falling snow-laden tree branch in Central Park — one of at least three deaths being blamed on the storm.
The massive winter storm is also disrupting air and road travel across the region.
About 30 percent of flights and most bus service in and out of New York City have been canceled.
Steve Coleman of the Port Authority, which runs the airports, says more than 1,000 flights were canceled today at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty. There are normally about 3,000 a day.
Manhattan’s vital Port Authority bus terminal was virtually shut down. Fallen trees hampered suburban trains.
Major thoroughfares in Manhattan were being plowed early today. Building workers did their best to shovel the falling and blowing snow.
In New Jersey, the snow totals ranged from about 3 inches in Atlantic City to 18 inches in Passaic and Sussex counties in northern New Jersey, which could get up to 2 feet of snow before the sky clears on Saturday.
All NJ TRANSIT bus service in Northern New Jersey (all routes north of I-195 including service in and out of New York) was suspended until further notice due to weather conditions.
State government offices in New Jersey will delay opening for two hours today. Essential employees should report on schedule.
The National Weather Service said a potent area of low pressure was expected to linger off Long Island on Friday before drifting slowly north toward southern New England and weakening on Saturday.
A Winter Storm Warning was issued by the National Weather Service for much of the tri-state until Friday at 6 p.m. as the gigantic storm is expected to roll into the region and take its time before it makes its grand exit by the weekend.