What to Know
- 6 inches of snow caused an epic commute nightmare for NYC Nov. 15, with some frustrated travelers calling for Mayor de Blasio to step down
- NJ didn't fare much better; people were seen trying to push an NJ Transit bus through snow as others just abandoned vehicles on roads
- Connecticut saw more snow than most of NJ and the city, with New Fairfield reporting 10.9 inches of the white stuff
The city has a new snow plan.
After a mid-November snowfall brought what may have been the most nightmarish 6 inches in New York City history, stranding kids in their schools and commuters at transit hubs for hours, officials said Thursday they will call for a full storm response for a forecast of just 2 inches.
Seem a bit much? Not if you were in the city on Nov. 15.
The Department of Education was still running school bus routes after 11 p.m. Driver after driver sat in the worst traffic jams they could remember. At least one commuter described a harrowing 13-hour trip home. Some New Yorkers even called for the mayor to resign over the abject chaos from 6 inches.
"The bottom line is what happened is unacceptable," City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the next day. "For New Yorkers who sat in three, five, eight hours of traffic, I'm sorry. We need to do a better job."
Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia echoed the apology on Thursday, saying, "I am certainly sorry that we did not message this. I am certain sorry we did not message appropriately."
Garcia admitted that the city's mistake the day of the storm was "our ability to message the public. Our messaging primarily said, 'Exercise caution.' That is not a strong enough message."
She said night plow operations will begin in early November instead of mid-November going forward, and the department will have extra staff on hand in the event the forecast worsens. This might lead to extra salting even when there's little to no snow, she said.
Garcia also announced there will be a new plan for emergency escorts and "counter flow" of spreaders and plows to avoid the kind of nightmarish gridlock that had more than a few drivers in tears.
It wasn't immediately clear how much the anticipated changes were expected to cost. A full review of the city's response is expected to be completed next week.
Though it was hardly a blizzard, the Nov. 15 storm was the snowiest in November in 80 years, Storm Team 4 said. It dropped 8 inches of the white stuff in Central Park, more in parts of New Jersey and Connecticut and even more than a foot in places in Orange County.