<![CDATA[NBC New York - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:47:36 -0500 Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:47:36 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[States of Emergency Declared in NY, NJ, CT as Blizzard Looms]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:37:09 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/blizzard11ammon.gif

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut declared states of emergency ahead of a paralyzing blizzard expected to wallop the tri-state with more than 2 feet of snow, coastal flooding and heavy sustained winds that will cause power outages and make even the slightest travel hazardous.

Some travel restrictions were already in place Monday and announcements were made to close most public school systems, including New York City's, Tuesday. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for all New York counties south of Sullivan, and said the New York State Thruway and other state-controlled highways may close at 10 p.m. Limitations were planned for subway service and authorities said Metro-North and LIRR service would likely shut down at 11 p.m. Monday. 

Mayor de Blasio declared a state of emergency for New York City Monday afternoon as a National Weather Service blizzard warning officially went into effect for the Big Apple. The mayor said city schools would be closed Tuesday and all non-emergency vehicles were ordered off the streets by 11 p.m. Monday to clear the way for snowplows and salt spreaders.

He urged New Yorkers to be prepared, saying the storm was expected to dump an extensive amount of snow in a short period of time. 

"This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in New York City history," the mayor said. "It is not business as usual." 

In New Jersey, Christie closed all government offices early Monday and said they would remain closed Tuesday. Christie urged residents to stay off the roads as travel was expected to become progressively treacherous; many roads would be closed, he said, but the New Jersey Turnpike was to remain open. NJ Transit planned to shut down service starting at 8 p.m., and it wasn't expected to be restored until Thursday morning. Christie said the snow accumulation was expected to be variable in New Jersey, with some parts of the state seeing 6 inches and others seeing 2 feet.

Connecticut was expected to be especially hard hit, and Gov. Dannell Malloy issued a statewide travel ban starting at 9 p.m.  He said the snow drifts could reach upwards of 4 feet on top of the 22 to 32 inches expected to pummel the state. 

Blizzard warnings went into effect across the region Monday afternoon and most of the waterfront counties in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are under coastal flood watches or warnings from Monday night into early Tuesday.

Light snow began falling in Manhattan Monday morning as the leading edge of the large nor’easter slid into the region. Intermittent, light to moderate snowfall fell throughout the day, with as much as 1 to 3 inches in parts of the tri-state by the evening rush.

Conditions are expected to deteriorate beginning at about 8 p.m., with snow falling as quickly as 2 to 4 inches per hour, Storm Team 4 says. Lightning and thunder may accompany the snow during the most intense part of the storm overnight. Sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts as high as 50 mph will accompany the snowfall, creating whiteout conditions across the region.

Between 18 and 24 inches of snow are expected to fall in New York City, with more than 3 feet possible on parts of Long Island and in Connecticut. Lower, but still significant, snow totals are expected west of New York City. Some areas may see more than 30 inches of snow. 

On Sunday, de Blasio urged New Yorkers to "prepare for something worse than we have seen before."

"This literally could be one of the top two or three largest storms in the history of this city," he said. 

The largest snowstorm recorded in the city was a February 2006 storm that dumped 26.9 inches on Central Park.

New York City sanitation workers were scheduled to work 12-hour shifts manning 500 salt spreaders and, later, more than 2,400 snow plows to clear the city's 6,000 miles of roads. City crews will be adding chains to ambulances and positioning National Guard vehicles. Alternate side parking is suspended through Wednesday to assist in snow removal. Homeless outreach teams were doubled, and about 500 to 600 extra fire and emergency personnel were to be added in the evening.

“We will ensure that all hands are on deck for this crisis," the mayor said.



Photo Credit: NOAA
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<![CDATA[Blizzard Guide: What to Expect From the Massive Storm]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:34:04 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/12515salt.jpg

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut declared states of emergency ahead of a paralyzing blizzard expected to wallop the tri-state with more than 2 feet of snow, coastal flooding and heavy sustained winds that will make even the slightest travel hazardous.

Governments, school districts, transit authorities and other bodies are preparing for the worst and have already announced several changes to services. Below is a guide for the latest changes and preparations for the storm.

GOVERNMENT

• Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for all parts of the state south of Sullivan County, including New York City. State workers were released from work early.
• Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency in New Jersey Monday and Tuesday. State workers in that state are being told to stay home Tuesday.
• Gov. Dannel Malloy declared a state of emergency in Connecticut beginning Monday afternoon. Emergency protocols have been activated in the state.
• Mayor de Blasio declared a state of emergency for New York City Monday afternoon.
• A state of emergency has been declared in Yonkers.

SCHOOLS

• New York City schools will be closed Tuesday. All after-school programs and athletics Monday afternoon have been canceled.
• Regents exams scheduled for Tuesday at New York City schools have been canceled but will be rescheduled.
• Schools in The Archdiocese of New York in Manhattan, the Bronx and on Staten Island will be closed Tuesday. Other archdiocese schools in other counties will follow the schedules of their local school districts.
• Hundreds of school districts across the region have announced closures or early dismissals Monday.
• New York University will close at 4 p.m. Monday. The university will likely be closed Tuesday, but the school said it is waiting until 6 p.m. Monday to announce its final decision. 
• Columbia University is canceling classes after 3 p.m. Monday. All classes Tuesday have been canceled. 
• Rutgers University will be closed between 4 p.m. Monday and 1 p.m. Tuesday. Classes between those times will be canceled.
• Check school closings and delays here.

MASS TRANSIT

• Cuomo said subways will run normally for most of the day Monday, but the MTA will begin to curtail service at about 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. so crews can stow trains on express tracks. Underground lines are likely to run overnight, but elevated lines like the No. 7 and the Brooklyn sections of the D and F lines are expected to close at some point. See the latest subway service changes here.
• MTA buses have been equipped with snow tires or chains for snow. No other service changes have been announced. See the latest bus schedule changes here.
• The Long Island Railroad will run 26 additional trains Monday afternoon. Service will be suspended at 11 p.m. Monday. See the latest LIRR alerts here.
• The Metro-North Railroad will have normal service Monday morning, and additional trains are being offered for commuters trying to get home between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Malloy said that additional changes in service Monday night and Tuesday will be announced later Monday. Cuomo said that Metro-North service would be suspended at 11 p.m. See the latest Metro-North advisories here.
• Twenty-six Metro-North and LIRR trains will be added to the schedules Monday afternoon to help commuters get home.
• NJ Transit will shut end all service at 8 p.m. Monday. Train service isn't expected to resume until Thursday morning, but train and light rail service could resume on a limited basis Wednesday. See the latest NJ Transit alerts here.
• PATH trains are expected to run normally until 9 p.m., when trains will run on a weekend schedule See the latest PATH advisories here.
• NY Waterway says it is offering early ferry service to Belford, New Jersey, Monday afternoon in anticipation of the storm. No other service changes have been announced. See the latest NY Waterway advisories here.
• Amtrak says trains are expected to operate on a normal schedule Monday, but may reevaluate as conditions change. See the latest Amtrak alerts here.
• CT Transit bus service will be suspended across Connecticut beginning at 8 p.m. Monday. Check bus status here.
• Suffolk Transit buses will stop running at 6 p.m. Monday night, according to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Check Suffolk Transit status here.

AIR TRAVEL

• More than 1,000 flights into and out of John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark international airports were canceled Monday morning in anticipation of the blizzard.
• United Airlines canceled all Tuesday flights in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
• A ground stop was ordered at Newark and LaGuardia airports at 3 p.m. due to snow and low visability 

ROADS

• New York City's roads will be closed to all non-emergency vehicles beginning at 11 p.m. Monday 
• Tractor trailers will be banned from traveling on the New York State Thruway beginning at about 4 p.m., and the state is considering a travel ban on all major highways and roads beginning at 11 p.m., Cuomo said.
• Cuomo said a travel ban on all roads on Long Island would likely be instituted beginning at 11 p.m. The ban would be finalized after a 4 p.m. weather update.
• Malloy has instituted a travel ban in Connecticut beginning at 9 p.m. Only emergency vehicles will be allowed on the state's roads after that time.
• Christie said roads in New Jersey are expected to remain open Tuesday night and Wednesday, but he urged residents to stay home unless there was an emergency.
• New York City has issued a snow alert, and sanitation workers will work in 12-hour shifts manning 500 salt spreaders and, later, 1,500 snow plows to clear the city's 6,000 miles of roads.
• Alternate side parking in New York City has been suspended Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for snow preparations and removal. Meter rules will remain in effect.
• The Greater New York Taxi Association is offering free cab rides to emergency responders trying to get to work, and to disabled and elderly residents who may become stranded.
• Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said that hundreds of snow plows and removal vehicles are being deployed to pre-treat and clear the roads.

SPORTS

• The New York Rangers will practice Monday night in Uniondale ahead of their game scheduled for Tuesday against the Islanders. The team will stay on Long Island Monday night.
• The Knicks and Nets both postponed home games scheduled for Monday night.

OTHER STORM PREPARATIONS

• New York City parks and recreation centers will close at 6 p.m. until further notice.
• All Monday night's Broadway performances in New York City were canceled 
• Homeless counts in New York City and parts of New Jersey have been postponed. New York City officials said they've doubled homeless outreach ahead of the storm. 
• Ambulances in New York City are being increased by 40 percent Monday.
• Citymeals says it will be delivering three days worth of meals to seniors and the disabled Monday in preparation of the storm.


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<![CDATA[NYC Bank Employee Accused of Being Russian Spy: Feds]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:23:28 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg

The FBI arrested a man they say is a Russian spy Monday in a Bronx parking lot, law enforcement officials tell NBC New York.

Evgeny Buryakov is charged in a criminal complaint with being an unregistered agent of the Russian government.

The court papers describe Buryakov as being an agent of the SVR, the foreign intelligence agency for the Russian Federation. Buryakov entered and remained in the U.S. as a private citizen under “non-official cover” and posed as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank.

Buryakov’s mission on behalf of the SVR was to gather intelligence on potential U.S. sanctions against the Russian Federation and U.S. efforts to develop alternate sources of energy, the court papers say.

Also charged in the criminal complaint are Igor Sporyshev, who had served as a Trade Representative in New York for the Russian Federation, and Victor Podobnyy, a former attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. Both Sporyshev and Podobnyy are believed to be in Russia.

Between 2012 and 2014, Buryakov and Sporyshev used coded language to signal they needed to meet and then met more than four dozen times at outdoor locations during which Buryakov passed bags, magazines and slips of paper to conceal the exchange of intelligence information.

Buryakov is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan Monday afternoon. Attorney information for the man wasn't immediately available.

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<![CDATA[Extreme Weather 2015]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:41:15 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP445381913902.jpg See photos of extreme weather from the U.S. and around the world.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[6-Alarm Grass Fire in Calif.]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:45:32 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pacifica6.JPG

A growing grass fire in a Pacifica canyon early Monday morning prompted evacuations and kept several people shut away in their homes as firefighters battled the blaze.

But by 7:30 a.m., firefighters had the five-acre grass fire - which quickly escalated to six alarms - contained, and residents who were allowed back into their homes, officials said.

The fire broke out about 3:30 a.m. in the 1100 block of Fasler Avenue, and created a dramatic scene for the small beachside city in between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.

Clyde Preston of the North County Fire Authority said as of 6:30 a.m. about 90 people had been evacuated as a precautionary measure and being helped at the Pacifica Community Center. Residents were allowed back to their homes by 8:15 a.m.

The winds and steep terrain, he said, were making the vegetation fire challenging to fight. About 60 firefighters were working to quell the flames, which were pushing toward the ocean.

Mike Dulay was woken up by authorities about 5 a.m. and scrambled to get his wife, kids and animals out of the house to safety. He said he's lived in this area for 23 years and neve seen a wildfire burn on this particular ridge. He noted how thick the brush and poison oak is in this canyon, and sympathized with the firefighters who had a difficult fight ahead of them.

Donna Metcalf and Randall Cooper took photos of the fire, and said they were stuck in their house for at least a couple of hours as police had blocked off their street.

NBC Bay Area's chopper flew overhead, tracking the bright orange flames consuming foliage and licking the sky.
 



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel
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<![CDATA[Commuters Urged to Leave Early or Work From Home]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:15:38 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/snow-generic.jpg

A paralyzing blizzard with white-out conditions is expected to dump more than two feet of snow on the tri-state Monday and Tuesday, and Gov. Cuomo is urging commuters to stay home or leave work early on Monday.

Roads are expected to be treacherous, and residents are urged to avoid driving. No delays or cancellations are expected on mass transit for Monday morning, but the evening rush could be more difficult for commuters. 

"Commuters should consider working from home on Monday if possible to avoid disruptions from likely road and public transportation closures," Cuomo said in a statement.

The MTA says normal rush hour service is expected for Monday morning, but reduced or canceled service on the LIRR, Metro North and other services are possible for the evening rush. LIRR waiting rooms will remain open at all hours through Friday to accommodate commuters waiting for trains during the cold weather. All MTA buses will be equipped with 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 system-wide 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.

Pedestrians will face slippery conditions and city parks will be dangerous because of the possibility of falling tree limbs. Alternate side of the street parking has been suspended for Monday and Tuesday.

Mayor de Blasio is also urging New Yorkers to "prepare for something worse than we have seen before."

The storm is expected to dump 18 to 24 inches of snow on New York City, and more than two feet in some areas farther east, beginning Monday and continuing through Tuesday night, according to Storm Team 4.

That could easily place this storm among the biggest the city has ever seen: The largest snowstorm recorded in the city was a February 2006 storm that dumped 26.9 inches on Central Park.

"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 said that city schools would be open Monday, with after-school activities canceled, and school would likely be closed Tuesday.

Light snow is expected to spread east throughout the day Monday, Storm Team 4 says. It is expected to accumulate 2 to 3 inches an hour beginning Monday night, said the National Weather Service, which issued a blizzard warning for the region. Snow will pick up in intensity at about 8 or 9 p.m. Monday, with near-whiteout conditions expected, Storm Team 4 says. Winds are expected to reach 30 to 40 mph, with gusts of 55 to 65 mph.

New York City 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 are offering flexible rescheduling for travelers already booked on flights who wanted to depart earlier or later to avoid the storm. 

Meanwhile, a coastal flood warning was in effect for early Monday morning on the Jersey Shore for moderate flooding following Sunday night's high tide. A coastal flood watch for other shore areas was in effect through Monday morning for moderate flooding. 

Some grocery stores had supply shortages Sunday night as residents scrambled to stock up ahead of the storm, leaving some shelves bare.

“There's no water, and there's a lot of stuff that's been completely depleted, which is crazy," said Tamar Kupelian, a late-night shopper at a New Jersey PathMark. "I don't know what everybody's needs are, but sometimes it's overrated."

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. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Be Prepared: What to Do Before, During and After “Monster” Storm]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:20:36 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/161130398.jpg

Nearly 30 million people living in the northern East Coast are bracing for what the National Weather Service says could be a “historic” winter storm. The storm is expected to bring blizzard conditions — including damaging wind gusts, heavy snow and coastal flooding — to the region for two days straight, NBC News reported.

Tom Moore, coordinating meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said the storm could intensify into “a monster.” And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Sunday that it’s important to “prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before.”

Whatever the storm ends up dishing out, it’s good to be prepared. Ready.gov has put together a preparedness plan for people in the path of severe winter storms. Here’s what you should know.

Before the Storm

Before the storm hits stock up on rock salt, snow shovels and other snow removal equipment to help remove snow and melt ice on walkways. Putting sand down can help improve traction.

If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, grab some extra wood or other heating fuel, as you could be stuck in your home for a few days without power. It's also a good idea to stock up on food, water and medications.Check your stockpiles of essentials like batteries, toilet paper and pet food and test flashlights, battery-powered radios and other tools that might be needed if the power goes out. 

While you’re at it, dig out all the old blankets, quilts and sheets you have piled away in case you lose heat.

If you have time it’s a good idea to make a “Family Communications Plan.” This will ensure that the members of your family can get a hold of one another if you're separated when disaster strikes.

You can sign up in advance to receive notifications from local emergency services and the National Weather Service. FEMA, the American Red Cross and other organizations have free apps that can provide up-to-date information about shelters, first aid and recovery assistance.

During the Storm

When the storm hits, with wind and snow whirling outside, it’s best to stay indoors and keep warm.

If you have to go out, walk carefully through snow and on icy sidewalks. Avoid getting your clothes wet, as soggy clothing loses all of its insulating power.

Be very careful when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, which is a major cause of death in the winter months. To stay safe while shoveling take breaks, push snow instead of lifting it and lift lighter loads.

It’s also important to check frequently for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite is when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Symptoms of frostbite include loss of feeling and a whitish pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, and the tip of the nose. Make sure to cover the exposed skin — but avoid rubbing it — and seek medical help immediately.

Hypothermia occurs when your body reaches a dangerously low temperature. Symptoms include an uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and exhaustion. If you think someone has hypothermia, take his temperature. If it’s below 95 degrees, get medical help immediately. While you’re waiting for help, get the victim to a warm location and remove any wet clothing he’s wearing. Warm the center of his body first by wrapping him in blankets and if he’s conscious give him warm, nonalcoholic beverages. Don't forget Fido; pets should be brought inside when the temperatures drop.

Drive only when you must and avoid traveling alone in case you become stranded. Inform others of your schedule — including your destination, route and when you expect to arrive — and travel only on main roads where others will see you if you get in an accident.

Back at home, conserve fuel by keeping your residence cooler than normal and temporarily closing off heat to some rooms. Use blankets and additional layers to keep warm. If you’re using kerosene heaters make sure that you’ve got plenty of ventilation so that toxic fumes don’t build up and refuel kerosene heaters outside. It's also a good idea to make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Never use a stove or outside cooking equipment like grills or propane heaters indoors.

If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation and wrap them in rags. Then open up all the faucets and pour hot water on the pipes, starting where they’re most exposed.

After the Storm

Once the storm has passed, grab a sled and enjoy the newfound winter wonderland before it melts away into muddy slush. Be sure to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing several layers of warm, loosefitting clothing.

If your home lost power or heat in the storm and it still hasn’t returned, or if you don’t have the supplies you need to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to stay in a public shelter. You can figure out where the nearest one is by texting “SHELTER” plus your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA). Make sure to dress warmly on your way to the shelter and bring anything you might need that night.

After all is said and done, assess how your supplies and family plan worked. If you think it could have been improved in anyway, learn from your experience and plan ahead for the next big one.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Manhole Fire Knocks Out Power in Queens Neighborhood]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 20:29:41 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/12515manhole.jpg

A fire in a manhole in Queens Sunday knocked out electric power to about 50 residents and businesses, officials said.

Firefighters were called to the scene at the corner of Jackson and 49th avenues at about 8:30 a.m. following reports of smoke billowing from a manhole.

No injuries were reported and investigators were unsure what caused the fire. 

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<![CDATA[Ernie Banks Died of Heart Attack]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:31:51 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ErnieBanks2014.jpg

The family of Ernie Banks announced in a press conference Sunday that the famous Cubs player died after suffering a heart attack.

Banks' death was caused by the heart attack, according to Mark Bogen, the family attorney. Funeral arrangements are currently being made.

Banks passed away on Friday at the age of 83, just seven days before his next birthday.

Bogen also announced that a Facebook page has been created for fans to celebrate Banks' legendary life. The page, called Ernie Banks Remembered, was created shortly after Banks passed away.

Banks' family is currently working with the Chicago Cubs and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office to create a public memorial for Mr. Cub, Bogen said.

Liz Banks, the wife of Ernie Banks, was present at the press conference, but Bogen delivered the news and did not take any questions.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Police Nab Coyote in Manhattan Housing Complex]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:40:41 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/11115coyote.jpg

Police captured a female coyote Sunday that was spotted roaming a Manhattan housing complex, authorities said.

The coyote was sedated and captured in the sprawling Stuyvesant Town complex and delivered to the city's Animal Care and Control, where it was fed and examined by veterinarians.

The animal was later released in a wilderness area in the Bronx.

Earlier this month, police captured a coyote in Riverside Park and released it into a Bronx wooded area.

"Although it's often called the concrete jungle, New York City has over 5,000 acres of forest land and is home to an abundance of wildlife," said city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.

Most coyotes pose no danger to people, but New Yorkers shouldn't try to feed or approach them, Silver advised.
 

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<![CDATA[Delta Plane Departed After Threats]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:57:48 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/012515+Eva+Groves+Delta+flight.jpg

Delta Airlines Flight 1061 from Los Angeles bound for Orlando was diverted to DFW International Airport Sunday afternoon, a Delta spokesman confirmed.  

The airline would not comment on the reason for the unscheduled landing except to say there was a, “security concern.”  Delta would not comment on the reason for the concern, but passengers aboard the flight tell NBC DFW the captain reported a possible threat from twitter.

“We started to see the police come and the fire trucks and emergency personnel,” said passenger Jeff Anderson.

“He [the plane's captain] did say at one point there was a threat on Twitter that mentioned this flight and there was a potential of a bomb.”

Anderson said the plane landed and taxied to an area away from the terminal.

“We did sit for quite a while,” he said. “They took us off the plane and said they were going to take all the luggage out, carry on and rescreen them.  They did have the bomb dogs looking around.” 

“Nobody seemed to be very nervous," said Anderson. "It was strange they took it serious enough to land the plane, but they didn’t seem to be in a great rush to get us off the plane.”

Anderson says they were later bused to Terminal E.  Once cleared the same plane departed DFW just after 7:30 p.m. bound for its original destination – Orlando. 



Photo Credit: Eva Groves]]>
<![CDATA[5 Biggest Snowstorms to Hit Northeast]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:14:44 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP744402766935.jpg

The Northeast is bracing for a “historic” snowstorm that is expected to pummel an area from Philadelphia all the way to northern New England with as much as two to three feet of snow by the time it's over late Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the New York and Boston areas starting Monday night.

"This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. "My message for New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before."

The forecast means, New York City could beat its one-day snowfall record — 26.9 inches, recorded in Central Park in February 2006.

"This is going to be a big one, historic," Weather Channel coordinating meteorologist Tom Moore told NBC News. "There could be paralyzing, crippling blizzard conditions. They're going to be talking about this one for a while."

The Northeast is no stranger to powerful snowstorms. Here’s a list of some of the biggest blizzards the region has ever seen.

1993: The Storm of the Century

The Storm of the Century did not only hit the Northeast, it surged up the entire East Coast from Alabama to Maine. The storm affected parts of 26 states, which is where roughly half of the entire U.S. population lives, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The blizzard began on March 12 and wrecked havoc for two days. For the first time, every East Coast airport had shut down at some point during or after the storm hit. Parts of upstate New York and Pennsylvania received over three feet of snow and wind gusts reached up to 89 mph on Long Island. Approximately 270 people died from direct and indirect results of the storm. The storm is still ranked as the number 1 most impactful snowstorm on the NOAA’s Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS), which is used to categorize snowstorms.

The Storm of the Century had uncanny similarities to the Blizzard of 1888: both started on Mar. 12 and affected 26 states.

2006: New York City Blizzard

While this storm is 29th on the NESIS list, it did account for New York City’s most snowfall in history: 27 inches. The snowstorm, however, was not categorized as a blizzard— winds of at least 35 mph for three consecutive hours and visibility of less than a quarter mile constitute a blizzard, which this snowstorm did not have.

1977: The Buffalo Blizzard

The snow began early morning on January 28 and temperatures dropped approximately 26 degrees in four hours. At the blizzard's peak, gusts of winds were 75mph and wind chills reached 50 to 60 degrees below zero. Thousands were stranded in office buildings or stalled cars and roads became parking lots quickly. Although the storm did not dump record-breaking snow— only 12 inches— it did put Buffalo on the map as the blizzard capital of the United States.

1978: The Great Northeast Blizzard (Boston/Rhode Island)

New England shut down after this blizzard dumped over 30 inches of snow and wind speeds hit over 100 mph. After the storm, President Carter declared portions of Rhode Island and Massachusetts federal disaster areas and brought the National Guard to help with the clean up. The storm lasted 32 hours which accumulated over 3000 stranded cars on the highways and claimed the lives of almost 100 people. This may have been the most powerful storm in the region since the Great Snow of 1717 when four snowstorms struck the area between February 27 and March 7, covering the New England and New York colonies with more than four feet of snow.

The Blizzard of 1996

This nor’easter hit the Northeast Corridor on January 6, as the country was getting back on track from the federal government shutdown. This storm ranked second on the NESIS scale. Parts of Pennsylvania were completely shut down and many Pittsburgh Steelers fans from areas east of Pittsburgh were stranded in the city after the NFL playoff game on Sunday. Philadelphia recorded 30.7 inches of snow— its highest record to date.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Body of Missing Pa. Teacher Found]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 07:21:01 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ChristopherTully.jpg

The body of a missing Pennsylvania teacher was found Sunday in the Schuylkill River, according to police and his family members.

A body was pulled from the Schuylkill around 1:20 p.m. The body was discovered in the water off Kelly Drive near the Falls Bridge in East Falls. Both police and family members later confirmed the body is that of 40-year-old Christopher Tully.

Tully, 40, had gone missing after jumping out of his parent's car along the City Avenue Bridge near East Falls on Jan. 6. He was last seen running south on City Avenue towards the Schuylkill Expressway.

Tully, an award-winning teacher at the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology and father of three, suffered from depression and was on his way to treatment when he ran away, said his loved ones.

"Even though he's 40, he's still my baby and I want him to come home," said his mother Mary Tully.

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for a reward for information leading to his whereabouts. The reward reached $10,000.

Investigators have not yet revealed how Tully died. They continue to investigate.

A spokesperson for the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology released a statement on Tully's death.

"Mr. Tully will be remembered as an exemplary teacher who spent 12 years on staff with us, having a positive impact on the lives of our students and all with whom he worked," the spokesperson wrote. "In 2014 he was named Outstanding Career and Technical Educational Teacher by the Pennsylvania Association for Career and Technical Education. We knew him as an outstanding teacher and person."

Counselors will be available for students and staff at Middle Bucks Institute throughout the week.

This story is developing. Stay with NBC10.com for updates.


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<![CDATA[Armed Men Make Off With Thousands in Bronx Robbery: NYPD]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 17:25:49 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/219*120/12515robbed.jpg

Two armed men made off with thousands of dollars in an early morning robbery of two women inside the lobby of a Bronx apartment building, police said.

The two men entered the building at the corner of East 170th Street and Sheridan Avenue at about 4:50 a.m., approached the two victims, ages 28 and 31, and pushed them to the floor.

The suspects told the victims they were armed and took $6,000 and a cell phone from the 31-year-old woman, police said.

The two women were not injured.

The suspects, both about 20 years old and wearing jogging suits, fled on foot.

The NYPD asks that anyone with information about the robbery call Crime Stoppers at at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). 

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<![CDATA[Home Depot Worker Fatally Shoots Co-Worker, Self]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 07:40:43 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/221*120/12515depot.jpg

An employee at a Manhattan Home Depot argued with a co-worker and fatally shot him before killing himself Sunday afternoon, police said.

The shootings occurred at about 2:30 p.m. inside the crowded store on West 23rd Street.

Hundreds of store employees and customers scrambled for safety when the gunfire erupted, witnesses said.

Police say 31-year-old Calvin Esdaile exchanged words with his co-worker, 38-year-old Sy Moctar, pulled out a gun and shot him multiple times.

Esdaile then shot himself in the head, police said. Moctar was Esdaile's supervisor, sources said.

"It sounded like fireworks, but more because it's enclosed, so you could hear the echoes," said Emilio Bantero, who was shopping inside the store.

Investigators didn't disclose the nature of the argument that led to the shooting.

"We're deeply saddened by this tragedy," said Stephen Holmes, a spokesman for Home Depot. "We are fully cooperating with the authorities on their investigation of what appears to have been an isolated incident."

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<![CDATA[NJ College Freshman Shot in Drive-by at Off-Campus Party]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 08:14:36 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/202*120/Rowan+The+Crossings+Shooting.JPG

A gunman hanging out of the passenger side of a car shot a teenager outside of an off-campus party at a New Jersey apartment complex Sunday, authorities said.

Gunfire rang out outside the Campus Crossing Apartments in Glassboro in southern New Jersey at around 1 a.m. Sunday leaving a Rowan University freshman shot in both legs, said Glassboro police

The victim, identified by the university as Anayochukwu Logan Iloabanafor, was rushed to Cooper University Medical Center in stable condition. Doctors treated and released Iloabanafor, said police.

The freshman was expected to make a full recovery, said Rowan University spokesman Joe Cardona.

Witnesses at the same party as Iloabanafor told investigators that they saw someone fire multiple shots from a revolver while hanging out the side of a vehicle.

Police later spotted a vehicle matching witnesses' descriptions nearby and pulled it over. Investigators questioned one man in the car before later releasing him while they held the other man, a 23-year-old on outstanding warrants.

The shooting happened at a complex popular with college students.

A message on The Crossings website describes the complex: “The Crossings at Glassboro provides an affordable and private home away from home where students can live and study off-campus in Glassboro, NJ. Our apartments serve Rowan University, Gloucester County College and Camden County College, among others.“

Police asked anyone with information to contact Detective Jack Manning at 856-881-1500 or submit a tip online.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Police Find Starving Pup Inside Suitcase: NYPD]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:44:37 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pit+bull+found+suitcase.jpg

A malnourished puppy was found inside a suitcase in a Bronx housing development, and police are looking for the person who put him there. 

A passerby at the Melrose Housing Development at 700 Morris Ave. in Morrisania alerted police officers on patrol after discovering the dog in the suitcase Thursday afternoon.

The puppy is a male brown pit bull about a year old, according to police. He was immediately taken to the ASPCA where he's being treated for malnourishment. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 



Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor Warns New Yorkers: "Prepare for the Worst"]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 00:49:25 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/12415plowing.jpg

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. 


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<![CDATA[Rocket Launcher Near Calif. Freeway]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 11:29:33 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/160*120/Rocket+Launcher1.jpg

A military rocket launcher was discovered on the side of the I-15 Freeway in Riverside County, California, Thursday afternoon, officials said.

It was unclear who the weapon belonged to, said a Riverside County Sheriff's Department spokesman. Rocket launchers are illegal to own, though some are occasionally found in California.

Workers clearing brush from the side of the highway in Murrieta found the rocket launcher, according to Patch, which first reported the discovery.

The AT-4 tube had no munitions inside, officials said. Its manufacturer's web page described it as "one of the most successful anti-armour weapons ever developed," effective against armorded vehicles and aircraft.

A rocket launcher was returned to law enforcement at a 2013 gun buyback in Solano County, and officers in 2012 found a rocket launcher while executing a search warrant in Paramount.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA["Charlie Hebdo" Hits US Newsstands]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 22:08:56 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Charlie+Hebdo+North+Park.jpg

The magazine at the center of the terror attacks in France two weeks ago is being sold in the United States, including at a newsstand in San Diego. 

The French satirical newspaper hit American newsstands Friday.

NBC News has decided not to show the controversial cover showing the Prophet Mohammed carrying a sign that says in French, "I am Charlie."  Twenty-thousand copies will be offered in the United States, according to LPMI, a distributor of foreign magazines and newspapers in the U-S and Canada.

Copies of Charlie Hebdo got to the North Park newsstand Friday afternoon.  The manager, Ken Gabbara, said it has been flying off the shelves.  He ordered 200 copies and had has already sold half.

Gabbara expects he has enough to get through the weekend and will evaluate to see if he needs to order more on Monday. Gabbara said he is not worried about negative feedback.

“We're doing it for the sake of history. People want a little piece of history," he said. "I carry like over 4,000 magazines in here. There's a lot of things that I agree and disagree with but it's for people's choices. If they want to read about it, we give them the opportunity.”

Bijan Izadi, who purchased a copy of the magazine, said he wanted to read the magazine.

“If you are not able to speak freely and if other people are infringing on that and threatening your life for that reason it's not right," Izadi said.

This shipment of 20,000 to the United States follows a shipment of 300 that made it to major cities like San Francisco and  New York. Copies are sold for $12.99 plus tax.

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<![CDATA[Christie Courts Iowa Conservatives]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 01:46:55 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/12415chris.jpg

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is trying to connect with Iowa conservatives by assuring them that "you'll always know who I am" if he runs for president.

While still undeclared, Christie left few doubts Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit that he is primed to enter the 2016 GOP race.

Christie told the Republican voters in the leadoff primary state in the nomination battle that they shouldn't let his blunt style turn them off. To those not enamored with all aspects of his record, Christie asserted "you'll always know what I believe and you'll always know where I stand."

He spoke at length about his anti-abortion views, which tends to resonate with Iowa's social conservative caucus-goers.

Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and many others turned the Iowa Freedom Forum into the unofficial launch of the next campaign for the Iowa caucuses. More than 1,000 religious conservatives met at a refurbished theater to hear their pitches.

The forum's sponsor, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, opened the event by asking the crowd, "Do you believe that the next president of the United States is going to be speaking to you today?"

The audience erupted in applause and King responded, "As do I."

Few would pick Christie, an abortion rights and gay marriage opponent better known for his union and budget battles, to emerge as the favorite among Iowa's evangelical voters. Yet his appearance could allow him to make inroads with a group focused as much on ideological purity as defeating the Democrat nominated to follow President Barack Obama.

"He has gusto that makes him an everyman. That appeals to me," 29-year-old Steve Friend of Sioux City said of Christie. "But I think he tanked the 2012 election by praising President Obama after (superstorm) Sandy."

Christie has defended his praise of the president for visiting storm-ravaged New Jersey in the weeks before Romney lost. But it's an image that sticks in the craw of Iowa's most right-wing conservatives.

"I don't trust him," said Mary Kay Hauser, another forum attendee. "I think he's disingenuous. I think he's part of the old New Jersey party."
 

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<![CDATA[Arrest in School Scissors Stabbing]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 22:53:44 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/211*120/1-23-15-David+Wark+Griffith+Middle+School+scissors+stabbing.JPG

Authorities arrested a 13-year-old boy on Saturday morning in connection with the stabbing death of a boy outside an East Los Angeles middle school, officials said.

LA County Sheriff's deputies arrested the boy at his East LA home between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m., a watch commander with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

It came hours after a 14-year-old boy was stabbed with scissors outside David Wark Griffith Middle School. The boy, whose identity hasn't been released, was attacked at 3:08 p.m. Friday and died at a local hospital, officials said.

He was a student at a nearby high school, according to Los Angeles Unified School District officials; it was unclear if his attacker was a student at either school.

Information about the boy in custody was not immediately available.

Christina Cocca contributed to this report. Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.



Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[ASPCA Offers $20,000 Reward in Dog-In-Suitcase Abandonement]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 01:49:58 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pit+bull+found+suitcase.jpg

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case of a malnourished puppy found zipped inside a suitcase in the Bronx.

The abandoned dog is a male brown pit bull about three years old, the ASPCA said Saturday in a news release about the reward. He was immediately taken to the ASPCA where he's being treated for malnourishment.

A passerby at the Melrose Housing Development at 700 Morris Ave. in Morrisania alerted police officers on patrol after discovering the dog in the suitcase Thursday afternoon.

“This dog was deprived of food and water, then discarded on a city curb as if it were garbage,” said ASPCA President Matt Bershadker. “Such callous disregard for a living creature is unconscionable, and should not go unpunished."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.



Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Parking Deck Collapse Injures Snowplow Driver in NJ]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 18:33:50 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/12415collapse.jpg

A snowplow operator in New jersey suffered minor injuries Saturday when part of the top deck of a parking garage he was plowing collapsed, officials said.

No one else was injured, but a car on the second level of the garage in Secaucus was destroyed.

The name of the snowplow driver wasn't released and the extent of his injuries wasn't disclosed.

The deck serves the nearby Empire Hotel.

Hotel guest Bill Ferguson of Barrington, New Jersey, had parked yesterday right where the deck collapsed.

"I went out to dinner last night and moved," he told NBC 4 New York. "I got lucky."

Throughout the day, engineers escorted hotel guests to their cars so they could remove them from the garage.

The combined weight of the snow and the plow apparently was too much for the structure, which was roughly 50 feet long and nearly as wide.

Michael Seeve, of Mountain Development, which owns the garage, said engineers will determine what went wrong.

"We're going to make sure something like this never happens again," he said.

Town engineers have declared the entire structure as unsafe pending an analysis by a structural engineer, said Mayor Michael Gonnelli. 

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<![CDATA[Cubs Great Ernie Banks Dies at 83]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 10:06:57 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ErnieBanks2014.jpg

Ernie Banks, the Chicago Cubs great who was affectionately known as "Mr. Cub" and was the face of the franchise for decades, has passed away at the age of 83. 

Banks was the first African-American to don a Cubs uniform, and it was the only one he would wear.

In a 19-year career, Banks slugged 512 home runs, drove in 1636 RBI, and perhaps more than any other player who has ever played for the franchise embodied the spirit of the club in the eyes and hearts of Cubs fans.

Even after his playing career came to an end in 1971, Banks continued to be an ambassador for the team.

He was a constant fixture at Cubs games, often singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" after the passing of Harry Caray in 1998, and he was one of the most popular figures at the annual Cubs Convention.

Banks made his MLB debut in 1952 at the age of 22 years old, and as his career went on he cemented his status as a legend. He was never better than in the 1958 and 1959 seasons. He won the MVP award in both seasons, and he set career highs in both home runs and RBI in those seasons. 

Unfortunately for Banks and the Cubs, he never made it to the postseason as a member of the team. In the 1969 season, Banks teamed up with fellow legends Ron Santo and Billy Williams and led the team to a massive lead in the standings as August ended. As September unfolded however, the Cubs faded badly, and they missed out on the postseason as the New York Mets surged and ultimately won the World Series title. 

Despite not having postseason experience on his resume, Banks was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, and he never stopped being an ambassador for the game and for the team. His indomitable spirit and constant optimism were a bright spot for the Cubs through some of the team's leanest years, and despite teams coming close in 1984 and 2003, Banks' teams were the ones that fans still talk about and remember.  

"Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball," Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "He was one of the greatest players of all time.  He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And and more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I've ever known.  Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie's life in the days ahead."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Service Restored After Manhattan Water Main Break]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 10:52:12 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/generic+caution+tape+vg.jpg

Manhattan residents who lost water on the West Side following a water main break have had their service restored, officials said Saturday.

The break on 48th Street and 11th Avenue impacted buildings in Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen Friday evening, according to the Office of Emergency Management. By 3:30 a.m., water service was restored, officials said.

The Department of Environmental Protection was still working to repair the break Saturday morning, the agency said.



Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[Patriots Face a Test in Seahawks' Read-Option]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 00:19:17 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/russwillsea.jpg

To beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, the Patriots know they’ll have to contain running back Marshawn Lynch. Yet here’s the problem: If they focus too much attention on Lynch, quarterback Russell Wilson may burn them.

Wilson led all NFL quarterbacks in rushing in 2014 with 849 yards. In fact, Wilson ranked 16th in the league in rushing. And when Wilson does take off, his plays can be painful for defenses. He averaged 7.2 yards per attempt, had eight runs of more than 20 yards and scored six touchdowns.

What New England will face on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1, is the Seahawks’ read-option scheme, which forces defenses to choose between focusing on Lynch or being cautious, in case Wilson pulls the ball out and sprints around the defenders crashing on Lynch.

Against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks’ read-option was very effective. On 17 read-option plays, Seattle’s Lynch or Wilson gained 121 yards and scored two touchdowns. Most of the time, Lynch got the ball. But late in the game, Wilson had two key carries on the read-option that resulted in 16 yards and a score.

“They execute the read-option at a very high level,” Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia told the Boston Herald this week. “It’s extremely dangerous. They do it from a number of different looks. They obviously have tremendous skill players that can handle the ball and handle that type of offense.”

The read option, however, is not unfamiliar to the Patriots, who’ve faced it many times over the past two years. In fact, coach Bill Belichick brought Tim Tebow into camp last year largely to run the offense against his defenders.

One tactic is to emply a spy -- a defender whose responsibility it is to keep his eyes on Wilson and not let him break free if he decides to fake the handoff to Lynch. That spy might be delegated by how the Seahawks line up. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has played the role well before, as has linebacker Jamie Collins.

Last season, Ninkovich played spy against Cam Newton of the Panthers.

But whoever it is, he’ll have to stay vigilant. Even one play where he’s tricked or loses concentration -- as happened to the Packers late in Seattle’s comeback win -- could be costly.

Ninkovich has said in the past that the read-option scheme is simply “a green light to hit the quarterback.”

But Wilson is an extremely skilled, smart and patient ball handler who can also exploit overly aggressive defenders.

“You just have to be under control and know what your assignment is every time,” said Ninkovich.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Neighbors Slowly Return After Edgewater Inferno]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 05:56:15 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/edgewater+fire+split.jpg

Just two days after quick-moving inferno decimated part of a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey, power has been restored, roads are reopened and some neighbors are being allowed back into their homes, officials announced Friday. 

"The good news is that we have started the process of allowing people to get their lives back together and turning toward normalcy," said county executive James Tedesco.

Tedesco said power has been restored to the entire area of Edgewater not affected by the fire at the Avalon on the Hudson complex. The nearly 90 residents of an affordable housing complex nearby and the 120 people who who live in other homes close to the complex will be allowed to return Friday, officials said, confirming what NBC 4 New York first reported.

It's not clear when residents of the 150 units at the complex not affected by the fire would be allowed to return. The fire scene and a building were still being secured, and fencing was being put up. Officials said no vehicles were damaged in the fire, and they have been taken out to be recovered by their owners.

Schools will also reopen Monday after two days of being closed under a state of emergency.  

Air quality tests by Bergen County health officials have shown no harmful results in the entire block, officials said. 

More than 250 units at the Avalon on the Hudson complex in Edgewater were destroyed by the Wednesday night blaze that took firefighters more than 15 hours to get under control, leaving about 500 people homeless. NBC 4 New York has learned AvalonBay will give $1,000 in cash to the tenants in those apartments to help them get through the transition.

Mayor Michael McPartland said the community has been "overwhelmed" with generosity from the public, and is asking that people no longer drop off physical donations and instead contribute to the official fundraising site at GoFundMe, which amassed tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of hours. 

The New Jersey Apartment Association has also organized a list of vacant apartments that are immediately available for displaced residents, many with discounted rates. 

"It's been a trying a couple of days. I'm just so proud of everyone," said McPartland. "In a terrible tragedy what I see coming out of it is the people of Edgewater coming together as a prideful town and everybody stepping up to the plate." 

Vijay Sankar, who lives across the street from the Avalon complex, was happy to return home Friday night, even as he found charred embers from the fire resting on his house. He had watched the entire block of apartments go up in flames. 

"I was super anxious, even though I'm covered with insurance," he said. "It's my whole life, my whole everything here." 

On Thursday, authorities announced that the fire had been ruled an accident, sparked when a plumbing repair made by maintenance workers ignited in the walls and consumed the building.

"There was nothing suspicious about it, and we have complete verification, and there's no doubt about it," said Edgewater Police Chief William Skidmore. "It's just a tragic accident."

Two sources involved in the response to the fire told NBC 4 New York the plumbers were not licensed. It is part of the ongoing investigation.  

Questions also linger over how the fire was able to spread so quickly and thoroughly as hundreds of displaced residents try to cope with the devastating loss of their homes and belongings.

Edgewater Fire Chief Thomas Jacobson said he thought lightweight wood construction was a factor in how quickly the fire spread.

"If it was made out of concrete and cinderblock, we wouldn’t have this problem," he said. "But it’s lightweight construction with sprinklers, and this is the problem you face with this type of construction."

Michael Feigin, chief construction officer for AvalonBay, the owner of the building complex, confirmed in a statement the buildings were built using wood frame construction, which he said was "a standard, common and safe construction method for multifamily housing used throughout the United States."

"The community was built in accordance with the fire and safety codes applicable at the time," he added. "The purpose of those codes is not to prevent the building from burning down, but rather to ensure that there is sufficient time and opportunity for all occupants to exit safely in the event of a fire."

"We are grateful that everyone at Avalon at Edgewater was able to leave the building and get to safety without serious injury," said Feigin.

Assemblyman John Wisnewski, chair of the New Jersey's Fire Safety Commission, said the building's sprinklers were working and appeared to be up to code, though some parts of the buildings didn't have sprinklers.

"This, I'm told, was a system designed to give people time to get out but not necessarily preserve the structure," he said. "We have to ask the question, should it have been a more robust system?"

Gov. Christie, who visited the site and met with displaced residents Thursday, said the state's Department of Community Affairs is conducting its own investigation into whether the building met all the safety codes, and if so, whether it would make sense to talk about updating and changing the codes.

Five hundred emergency responders from 35 towns responded to the call about the fire Wednesday. An initial fire broke out around 4:30 p.m. and the complex was quickly evacuated. Firefighters appeared to have the blaze under control for some time, but it escalated in a hard-to-access area in the back part of the complex, hampering firefighters' ability to effectively fight the flames.

Two firefighters and two civilians suffered minor injuries, which officials called miraculous considering the size of the fire. All residents and emergency personnel were accounted for.

"With a fire of this scope and size, to have no loss of life and so many people displaced, we actually feel fortunate," said Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland.

Some pets likely perished in the blaze, he said. 

The large Avalon on the Hudson apartment complex, located by the Hudson River across from Manhattan, is across the street from the Edgewater post office, and is located across a shopping complex that contains a Trader Joe's supermarket.

The same apartment complex burned to the ground while under constructed in 2000. It was rebuilt featuring one-, two- and three-bedroom units designed to appeal to New York City commuters.



Photo Credit: AP Images/NBC 4 New York]]>