The National Weather Service issued watches and warnings for the region, with up to 9 inches of snow expected.
New York City
The New York City Department of Sanitation and New York City Emergency Management Commissioners are preparing for Thursday’s snow.
DSNY issued a Snow Alert for Thursday which means Roadway Dining and Open Streets are suspended. Sidewalk dining can still continue.
Alternate Side Parking has also been suspended through Saturday and meters will be in effect.
Officials warn the Thursday evening commute will be difficult after the heaviest snow is supposed to fall between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“If you don’t have to drive, please stay off the roads,” said Deanne Criswell, Commissioner of NYC Emergency Management Department.
The Sanitation department says it has 2,000 plow vehicles, 715 salt spreaders and over 200,000 tons of rock salt on hand and plenty of calcium chloride.
Roads will be pretreated Wednesday night with brine and pre-salting.
Also, Criswell says the city does not foresee any impacts to the vaccine or testing sites, which, as of now, are scheduled to operate normally. However, if conditions worsen then they say they will adjust accordingly.
Food sites that have the grab-and-go meals are open Wednesday and Thursday, but it is recommended to grab additional meals to stay off the roads on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the MTA is also urging customers to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel during the storm.
The MTA says employees will be spreading salt and clearing surfaces of snow and ice, keeping signals, switches, and third rail operating; will remove any downed trees that may fall across tracks; and will attend to any weather-related challenges during the storm.
“The very practice of preparing for storms is a critical part of ensuring our customers and employees are safe, which is why we have undertaken extensive planning for winter storms,” said Patrick Warren, MTA Chief Safety and Security Officer and Acting Chief Operating Officer of New York City Transit.
New York City Subway and Staten Island Railway
While the underground portions of the subway system remain unaffected during snowstorms, there are nearly 220 miles of outdoor track throughout the boroughs. The Rockaway A SubwayS Subway, Sea Beach N Subway, Flushing 7 Subway, Brighton B SubwayQ Subway and Dyre Av 5 Subway lines are particularly vulnerable to snow and freezing precipitation. To prevent subway trains from being blocked in yards, they may be moved and stored underground in anticipation of heavy snow or ice.
New York City Transit has a fleet of snow and ice-fighting trains designed to keep outdoor tracks, switches and third rails clear of snow and ice. High-powered snow throwers, jet-powered snow-blowers, and de-icing cars – retired subway cars modified with tanks and other specialized equipment to spray de-icing fluid on the third rail – are ready for immediate deployment. Additional employees will be at stations and in yards to assist with snow response.
New York City Buses
Articulated buses throughout the city will be parked for the event until storm passes and local buses will be used. All local buses will be fitted with chains.
Bus managers have technology that tracks headways and service in real time allowing them to make service related decisions more efficiently. Bus service will be adjusted based on road conditions around the city and service curtailments on a route-by-route basis are possible.
New York City Transit and the MTA Bus Company have 35 snow-fighting vehicles in its fleet, which operate on predetermined routes to quickly reach terminals, lay-over locations, and other highly trafficked areas and known hotspots.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels
MTA Bridges and Tunnels personnel have activated full inclement weather preparedness for all facilities and the Operations Command Center Weather Desk will monitor the forecast. A 35-mph speed restriction on all MTA Bridges will be implemented once the storm begins.
Bridges and Tunnels will be closing its pedestrian walkways as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday on the Henry Hudson Bridge, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and the Cross Bay Veteran’s Memorial Bridge.
Over 6,200 tons of roadway deicer and 115 pieces of storm fighting equipment readied and available for deployment.
Bridges are equipped with embedded roadway sensors for temperature and above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication. Additional restrictions may be put in place if conditions warrant. All non-critical roadwork will be suspended during the storm with contractors on-site and/or available to assist with weather-related response.
Any flooding conditions will be closely monitored and appropriate mitigation measures will be put into place as needed.
Metro-North Rail Road will operate on a regular weekday schedule. Customers should anticipate scattered delays due to the weather.
Metro-North is closely monitoring conditions and may further modify or suspend service if snowfall is heavy. In ice storms, blizzards, or sustained winds over 39 mph, train service may be severely curtailed or suspended, especially if there are frozen switches, downed trees, or a loss of third rail or overhead catenary power.
Snow-fighting equipment is winterized, tested, and strategically positioned at facilities around the system. Protective heat circuits are being verified to be operational, air brake lines are being purged of any moisture to prevent them from freezing, and electric trains are being fitted with special third rail shoes to prevent snow from accumulating.
Metro-North Railroad installed third rail scraper shoes on its electric trains to clear snow/ice off electrified third rails, is shrouding exposed train couplers with snow covers, is treating exposed shoes with deicer, and is spraying door panels with anti-freeze agent.
Switches – the interlocking tracks that allow rail traffic controllers to route trains from one track to another – are being treated with an anti-freeze agent and lubricated. Metro-North Railroad uses electric switch heaters to melt snow.
Long Island Rail Road
The LIRR is closely monitoring weather forecasts as the upcoming storm nears its service area, and is planning to run normal schedules throughout the duration of the storm. If snowfall becomes heavy, delays and/or service changes (including temporary suspensions), may occur.
With snow on the way, LIRR station waiting rooms are open 24/7 starting today, Wednesday, Feb. 17, with normal station waiting room hours scheduled to resume on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Typically, in ice storms, blizzards, or sustained winds over 39 mph, train service may be severely curtailed or suspended, especially if there are frozen switches or there is a loss of third rail power.
Railroad crews will be out across the service territory working to keep trains moving for those who need them. De-icing trains will be running to keep rails clear of snow and ice, while crews will be strategically positioned throughout the system helping to keep switches clear and operable.
Those who must travel are urged to be cautious on station staircases/platforms and when boarding/exiting trains. Customers are encouraged to check the LIRR TrainTime app, MyMTA app, or new.mta.info. Customers can chat live with LIRR customer service agents daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. through the LIRR TrainTime app for any service-related questions.
Access-A-Ride paratransit will continue to provide service. Trips will be non-shared ride and feeder service is suspended. Customers may experience additional delays and wait times. Customers may want to consider adjusting or canceling their travel plans. The Paratransit Command Center will be monitoring the storm to track and respond to any customer or day of service issues. Please be advised we will operate one day in advance reservations.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation are telling residents to avoid unnecessary travel as well on Thursday.
NJDOT officials issued a Winter Weather Congestion Alert Wednesday based on the forecast for heavy snow throughout the state on Thursday, which may result in difficult driving conditions for the morning and afternoon commutes.
Motorists are advised to work from home if possible and avoid unnecessary travel tomorrow as road conditions may be challenging.
Officials say they will be deploying the necessary resources in advance of the storm, and the Transportation Department is coordinating with the NJ State Police, NJ Transit and the toll road authorities to ensure the most effective response to the storm.
If residents must drive, motorists are advised to:
– SLOW DOWN, and obey posted speed limits
– Always STAY CLEAR of plowing and spreading trucks. If they are behind you, let them pass
– DO NOT pass between trucks that are in a plow formation
– Leave early and allow extra time
– Leave a safe following distance between vehicles
– Use caution on bridges and ramps
– If you are driving and road conditions deteriorate, PULL OFF somewhere safe and wait it out
– Be patient and use caution
– Keep an emergency kit in your car with a cell phone charger, water, snacks and other items
Additionally, NJDOT has issued a commercial vehicle travel restriction on multiple Interstate highways in New Jersey starting at 4 a.m. including:
– I-78, from the Pennsylvania border to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike)
– I-80, from the Pennsylvania border to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike)
– I-195, from I-295 to NJ Route 138
– I-280, from I-80 to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike)
– I-287, from NJ Route 440 to the New York State border
– I-295, from Exit 60 (I-195) north to the Scudders Falls Bridge (Pennsylvania border)
– NJ Route 440, from the Outerbridge Crossing to I-287
The commercial vehicle travel restriction applies to:
– All tractor trailers (exceptions as listed in the Administrative Order)
– Empty straight CDL-weighted trucks
– Passenger vehicles pulling trailers
– Recreational vehicles
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