New York City Schools Open Wednesday; Subway Service Resumes

The city that never sleeps is waking back up after a brief lull during a debilitating winter storm that pelted the region with blinding snow and icy winds and forced officials into a near total shutdown of schools, roads and mass transit systems.

Schools reopened and mass transit was up and running Wednesday ahead of a frigid, but sunny and clear day.

Travel bans across the tri-state area were lifted Tuesday and mass transit was expect to run at normal weekday service, with the exception of two LIRR branches.

Limited NJ Transit resumed Wednesday. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy lifted the travel ban on local roads in Litchfield and Fairfield counties in the morning, and all restrictions were lifted at 2 p.m.

All three state bans -- in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut -- had been in effect for nearly nine hours and emergency vehicles were the only ones permitted on the roads. 

Facing blizzard warnings and doomsday snow forecasts, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut declared states of emergency Monday in anticipation of the storm. But for much of the area, it fell fall short of expectations as far as snow totals and wind damage. 

Initial forecasts projected as much as 3 feet of snow to fall on parts of the tri-state, but snowfall projections were greatly reduced by early Tuesday morning. By the time the snow stopped falling Tuesday afternoon, between 5 and 12 inches of snow were on the ground in New York City. More than two feet of snow fell on parts of eastern Suffolk County, and 30 inches had accumulated in Orient by evening. 

Cuomo acknowledged the storm was "less destructive than expected," but stood by the emergency declarations, saying the travel bans and mass transit restrictions helped officials clean up faster than they would have been able to otherwise and, ultimately, get the system back on line more quickly.

Mayor de Blasio echoed Cuomo's sentiments and hailed the Department of Sanitation for what he called an "extraordinary effort" to clean up the snow and salt streets and sidewalks.

"To me it was a no-brainer," the mayor said as he reminded New Yorkers road conditions were still treacherous in spots. "We have to take precautions to keep people safe."

De Blasio pointed out the severe impact on Long Island, which was hardest hit by the storm, as he said how close the city came to being hit: "literally -- about 20 miles east of the Queens border -- 2 feet of snow." 

The U.S. Postal Service was expected to resume mail delivery Wednesday in Nassau and Suffolk counties after halting service Tuesday in those counties. Islip Airport had 24.8 inches, and Orient had 30 inches.

Two deaths, both on Long Island, were tied to the storm by police: a 17-year-old who crashed into a light pole while snow-tubing down a street and an 83-year-old man with dementia who was found dead in his backyard.

"Some areas dodged a bullet. That was not the case here in Suffolk County," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news briefing Wednesday with Cuomo at his side. "We were hit -- and we were hit hard."

Seven and a half inches of snow fell in Islip during the day Monday, breaking a previous record for Jan. 27, set in 1987. Cuomo said he was redirecting resources from the city and Hudson Valley to assist with snow cleanup in Suffolk County. 

In New York City, Queens saw the most snow, with 12.1 inches in Glendale at about 9:30 a.m. Central Park had 9.8 inches by 1 p.m. 

More than 7,700 flights in and out of the region were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Passengers on at least one outbound Virgin Atlantic flight were stranded on the tarmac at Kennedy Airport for about six hours before being stuck back at the terminal after midnight, according to NBC News.

Contact Us