Eye of the Tri-State Storm: Will It End Soon? Not A Chance

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snow2A blizzard warning continues for the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and central, southern New Jersey, as authorities prepare for a winter storm that forecasters say could dump about 10 to 16 inches of snow on the metropolitan area. Though the snowfall seemed to be fairly light for much of the region early Wednesday, forecasters warn not to be fooled: the brunt of the storm is here and will continue.

The blizzard warning, which the National Weather Service issued early Wednesday, is in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday, and wind gusts of up to 40 mph are expected.

Current forecasts predict between 10 and 16 inches of snow for New York City and most of the tri-state, with 6 to 10 inches in areas farther north and west of the city, and lower totals due to mixing of snow, sleet and rain along the East Coast line.

As of 3:45 p.m. snowfall amounts varied throughout the region. Central Park had 5 inches, but that amount was expected to jump up considerably as the afternoon progressed.

Other totals: 7 inches in Queens; 9 in Yonkers, Suffolk, Passaic and Newark; 10 in Bergen and 11 in Rockland.

The first batch of precipitation dumped several inches of snow across the region, but tapered off at times causing many to wonder if this latest storm would be another bust. CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn said that’s not the case though, and that the worst of the storm is expected later this evening.

“I’m sure a lot of people are echoing that thought, that, ‘Hey, this storm is not turning out to be what we thought.’ Don’t go with that opinion,” said Quinn. “Number one is it all comes down to the winds. Wait for those winds to change. They’re going to pick up in intensity and they’re also going to start blowing in from the north. That will make the temperatures get colder. The snow then changes its consistency.”

According to Quinn, those cold winds will keep the snow from being slushy, compacted snow, but instead fluffier, allowing it to accumulate quicker and easier so the totals get bigger.

“You can expect this to be happening around sunset,” said Quinn. “The key hours for us in this storm — I know you all think this storm is just not happening — is between 5 o’clock this afternoon until 10 o’clock tonight. So there’s a lot more to come, and when it’s all over and done with we are gonna stick with that snowfall total of about 10 to 16 inches for the majority of the tri-state.”

If you were looking out your window through the early morning hours expecting to see a lot of accumulation, you would have been disappointed. But as forecasters accurately predicted, a more steady and heavy precipitation followed, intensifying during the morning hours into the afternoon.

“When the winds pick up, so will the storm. It will shift gears into high mode,” added Quinn.

New York Gov. David Paterson said the state was preparing for the storm, sending extra plows to Long Island and helping to prepare emergency crews from New York City into the lower Hudson Valley.

New York City schools were closed in anticipation of the snowstorm. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights.

“Everything tells us we would be able to get kids to school in the morning but we’d have a real mess on our hands trying to get them home,” NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said on Tuesday.

The snow may mix with sleet at times this morning, but will otherwise be heavy at times during the day, with snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour possible. Some south coastal locations mixed with rain in the morning, but by the time snow ends tonight, total accumulations of 10 to 16 inches can be expected.

As the storm intensifies, northeast winds will increase and become quite strong and gusty. Gusts of 35 to 40 mph will cause blowing and drifting of snow, with blizzard conditions along with possible power outages, again mainly this afternoon into this evening.

Commuters across New York are being urged to use mass transit, but if conditions become bad enough, even that option could be difficult.

Long Island Rail Road has said it would halt all service system wide if 10 inches or more accumulate on the rails.

“The best way for us to safely and effectively protect our customers cause we don’t want them on a stranded train, on a train that’s not moving, is to hold train service at Penn, get out there and clean the tracks and then resume, as regular as we can throughout the night, service on our primary branches,” LIRR President Helena Williams said.

AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair Jr. gave some crucial tips to commuters who need to drive.

“You really have to keep your speed down, posted speed limits are for ideal conditions, and it could take the vehicle 9 times longer to stop in ice and snow,” said Sinclair Jr.

Meanwhile, across the Hudson River, New Jersey state offices have been closed because of the snow.

Gov. Chris Christie and state police Superintendent Rick Fuentes say nonessential employees should not report for their normal day shifts today. Essential employees should report to work on schedule.

The earliest report of snow came from reporter Jay Dow, who was live from Freehold, New Jersey. Many parts of the Garden State were just recuperating from Shabbos’  blizzard-like storm, beginning to resume normal activity after being buried in several inches of snow. Today, however, the snow was more evenly spread throughout the state.

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation and the Board of Public Utilities are monitoring the storm and continuing cleanup efforts.

The National Weather Service says snow accumulations in New Jersey are expected to range from 12 to 22 inches, with the highest amounts straddling the Interstate 95 corridor.

Drivers have been advised to be careful on the roads and to stay home if they can.

New Jersey Transit officials are operating on a regularly weekday schedule, but will modify service as weather conditions change. Bus riders in New Jersey should also expect delays, detours or suspensions in some cases. Passes will be honored on NJ Transit, system wide.

Continental Airlines canceled all 400 of its flights today at Newark Liberty Airport, as well as several hundred more regional flights on affiliate airlines. U.S. Airways and Continental also canceled most flights at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

{CBS/Agencies/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. gee snowfall of 10-16 inches in the Tri-state area. Why that’s almost like summer compared to the 60 inches we’ve got on the ground in Baltimore!!!

  2. The Federal Government in the Washington DC area has been closed since last Friday at 1 pm, and will be closed tomorrow.

    Since next Monday is a Federal Holiday, it’s likely to be closed Friday as well.

    With the Government closed for over a week, maybe we can get something accomplished.

  3. to chaim, you are evidently not a parent that has to transport your children to yeshiva. the driving is extremely hazardous and the walking very difficult. everyone agrees that it would not have been a problem getting the children to school, the problem would have been getting them home. Can you imagine thousands of cars and busses on the road in this mess. The streets in brooklyn are either solid ice or a total mess.

  4. chaim, if the public schools are closed, I believe the buses don’t run. If the buses aren’t running, how is everyone supposed to get to school?


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