Storm Blasts Through Tri-State; NY Keeps Streets Clear - NBC New York

Storm Blasts Through Tri-State; NY Keeps Streets Clear

Some mass transit delays, heavy airport cancellations

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    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 12: A man walks his dog along the Promenade walkway in Brooklyn Heights following a storm January 12, 2011 in New York City. A winter storm again struck snow-weary New York and much of the Northeast, though city efforts to clear the snow were increased and public schools stayed open. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

    The third snow storm to slam the tri-state in as many weeks dropped about 9 inches of snow in the city and blanketed Long Island and Connecticut with double digit accumulation, forcing flight cancellations and some mass transit delays before moving north toward Canada.

    The storm, a combination of weather systems from the south and the Midwest, left snow on the ground in every state on the East Coast except Florida.

    By Wednesday evening, storm advisories had expired and most area mass transit was running on or close to schedule.  Frigid overnight temperatures coupled with wind were in store through Thursday morning, forecasts predict.  Thursday is expected to be cold but clear.

    In New York City, crews responded swiftly after the snow began falling Tuesday evening, plowing roads, dropping salt and clearing side streets.

    City leaders took heavy criticism for their slow response to a Dec. 26 blizzard where many streets remained unploughed, and impassable, for days.

    "I don't know if I feel redeemed," said Mayor Bloomberg today.  "I feel relieved," he said.

    "The city's response for nine years has been exemplary ... things did not work in that one storm," Bloomberg said." I look at what we did last night, this morning, as an opportunity to do better the next time. We always want to improve. You never have the same emergency twice."

    The worst hit area was Connecticut, where the roof of an apartment building in Norwich partially collapsed under the weight of the snow, forcing 10 people from their homes. State troopers, working double shifts on orders of the governor, responded to about 900 spinouts, fender-benders and stranded vehicles.

    By early afternoon, New Fairfield had 28 inches of snow, and Danbury had 24 inches.

    Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state might qualify for federal money to pay for the cleanup.  "We're still in the position where we are simply trying to make sure that people are safe and that we can get commerce up and running as rapidly as possible,'' Malloy said.

    Danbury Connecticut has all but used up it's snow removal budget for the year.

    "I'll have to ask the city council for more," said Mayor Mark Boughton, standing next to mounds of snow waist high outside city hall.

    The way he explained it each inch of snow costs Danbury $20-25,000 for plowing, salting and overtime with an annual budget of $700,000.

    "We're cooked," he laughed following last night's two foot snowfall.

    Snow started falling late Tuesday. By 4 a.m. Wednesday, 9.1 inches had fallen on Central Park, and up to a foot fell in some parts of New Jersey.

    MASS TRANSIT

    The MTA appeared to follow through on its pledge to "be more nimble," with no major delays or problems being reported. MTA Chairman Jay Walder said service operated normally during the morning rush and he expects the same throughout the afternoon.
     
    After a string of cancellations on the LIRR, service was expected to be back to normal on Thursday.
     
    Metro-North is operating on a Sunday schedule and there are still no trains to Danbury and Waterbury. But MetroNorth officials say a regular weekday schedule should be in effect Thursday.  It will offer bus service for Waterbury commuters. 
     
    Alternate side parking rules remain suspended for Wednesday and Thursday. Meter rules will be suspended for Wednesday, but may resume Thursday. The mayor also said the sanitation department will likely resume garbage pickup Thursday or Friday after ensuring all the streets are cleared of snow.

    SCHOOLS STAY OPEN DESPITE SNOW

    Meanwhile, in her first major announcement since becoming School Chancellor, Cathie Black said just after 5 a.m. Wednesday that the city's public school system will remain open despite the snow.

    Chancellor Black acknowledged the timing wasn't ideal, but given the circumstances, making the announcement at 5 a.m. was the best option.

    "We understand that's not perfect, but it's the best we could do," Black said.