A paralyzing blizzard with white-out conditions is expected to dump more than two feet of snow on the Tri-State region, and Mayor de Blasio is urging New Yorkers to "prepare for something worse than we have seen before."
The storm is expected to dump 24 to 36 inches of snow on New York City and its surrounding suburbs, beginning Monday and continuing through Tuesday night, according to Storm Team 4.
"This literally could be one of the top two or three largest storms in the history of this city," Mayor de Blasio said at a Sunday news conference detailing storm preparations.
"Don't underestimate this storm," he said. "Prepare for the worst."
De Blasio urged New Yorkers to avoid the Monday evening rush hour, and get home early if possible. He said that city schools would be open Monday, with after-school activities canceled, and school would likely be closed Tuesday.
Roads were expected to be treacherous, and de Blasio advised residents to avoid driving and instead use mass transit beginning Monday morning. Pedestrians would face slippery conditions and city parks would be dangerous because of the possibility of falling tree limbs, he warned. Alternate side of the street parking was suspended for Monday and Tuesday.
No delays or cancellations were expected on mass transit for Monday morning, but the evening rush was expected to be more difficult for commuters. Commuters were urged to either stay home or leave work early.
The MTA says normal rush hour service is expected for Monday morning, but reduced or cancelled service on the LIRR, Metro North and other services are possible for the evening rush. All MTA buses will be using chains or snow tires by Monday morning.
NJ Transit will have normal service for the Monday morning commute as well, but officials say cancellations are possible as the storm progresses. NJ Transit will offer full systemwide cross-honoring. PATH trains are also expected to run normally for the Monday morning commute.
Commuter rail service could stop across the MTA on Tuesday.
The storm was expected to dump 24 to 36 inches of snow on New York City and the surrounding suburbs, according to Storm Team 4. That could easily break a record: Currently, the largest snowstorm recorded in the city was a February 2006 storm that dumped 26.9 inches on Central Park.
Snow was expected to fall 2 to 4 inches an hour beginning late Monday night, said the National Weather Service, which issued a blizzard warning for the region. Winds were expected to reach 30 to 40 mph, with gusts of 55 to 65 mph.
Sanitation workers were scheduled to work 12-hour shifts manning 500 salt spreaders and, later, 1,500 snow plows to clear the city's 6,000 miles of roads.
“We will ensure that all hands are on deck for this crisis," the mayor said.
Airlines were offering flexible rescheduling for travelers already booked on flights who wanted to depart earlier or later to avoid the storm.
The anticipated weather follows right on the heels of a wet, slushy Saturday that hit the region with a mix of snow and rain. Up to 9 inches of snow fell in areas north of New York City, with the largest snowfall recorded in Sussex County, New Jersey. Other areas in northern New Jersey, Westchester and Connecticut saw between 6 and 9 inches of snow, while New York City received between 4 and 6 inches of snow, mixed with rain.
On Saturday, snowfall records for the day were set in Newark, Bridgeport, Islip and at JFK International Airport. In Newark, 5.1 inches of snowfall broke the record set on Jan. 24, 1948.