New York

Deadly Winter Storm Wallops Region, Leaving Behind More Than a Foot of Snow

Hundreds of accidents were reported and thousands of flights were canceled across the region; NYC schools are expected to be open Friday, Mayor de Blasio said

What to Know

  • A winter storm could drop 10 to 15 inches of snow on NYC, north-central NJ, the lower Hudson Valley, Connecticut and Long Island on Thursday
  • A winter storm warning is in effect across the tri-state and a blizzard warning was issued for Suffolk and Nassau counties
  • NYC schools are closed, thousands of flights are canceled and the area is preparing for slick roads, sluggish commutes and power outages

The monster winter storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in some parts of the tri-state area pulled away Thursday evening, leaving behind a brutal chill in its wake that could make travel dangerously icy into Friday morning.  

The snowstorm was blamed for at least one death in New York City. A 59-year-old doorman shoveling snow at a building on 93rd Street slipped on the steps and fell back through a glass window, severely cutting his neck, law enforcement sources say. He died at a hospital.

Blizzard and winter storm warnings, which were in effect for nearly of the tri-state, were discontinued by Thursday evening. Long Island, where residents experienced whiteout conditions, appeared to get the worst of the storm. While snow began tapering off in New Jersey before noon, the last flakes weren't didn't leave Long Island till evening. Storm Team 4 breaks down the timeline here.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone declared a state of emergency as Commack recorded a foot of snow by 1 p.m., and thousands were left without power.

Explosive moisture growth created ripe conditions for thundersnow (thunderstorms forming over cool pockets of air) across Nassau and Suffolk counties as the storm surged over the island. Some instances of the rare weather phenomenon were reported in Connecticut, where, by early afternoon, parts of Fairfield County had seen a foot. 

Public schools in New York City were closed for just the 11th time in 12 years, but Mayor de Blasio said he anticipated roads to be cleared enough for classes to resume Friday. NBC 4 New York's live cam showed some brave souls trying to hoof it through the Crossroads of the World as others, failing to heed the pleas of city officials, navigated the roads.

Most of the tri-state saw a total of 8 to 13 inches of snow by storm's end. The Fresh Meadows neighborhood of Queens got over 13 inches of snow, while the northwest Bronx saw just over a foot. Midwood, Brooklyn, saw 10 inches, while Central Park recorded 9.4 inches. Alternate side parking is suspended in the city through Saturday, but meter rules remain in effect. 

De Blasio urged New Yorkers to stay inside. 

"If you need to go out, please don’t use your car because we need to let our Sanitation Department clear the roads,” he said at a news briefing.

The Jersey Shore, meanwhile, got about 4 to 10 inches. Northern New Jersey saw more accumulation, with more than 9 inches reported in several Bergen County towns.

All New Jersey state offices were closed for non-essential employees, Gov. Christie says. Schools were closed as well. The state's Office of Emergency Management reported nearly 200 accidents before noon, and that number was expected to grow. Connecticut Gov. Malloy also asked non-essential employees to stay home. 

The storm crippled travel by ground and air, and over 2,000 flights at area airports were canceled ahead of and during the storm, The Federal Aviation Administration implemented a full ground stop at JFK to allow crews to clear the Queens runways. 

According to the National Weather Service, snow fell at incredibly quick rates -- up to 3 inches an hour at LaGuardia and up to 2 inches an hour at JFK. Wind gusts were expected to reach up to 45 miles per hour, with the strongest gusts recorded along the coast. In Suffolk County, 64 mph gusts were recorded in northeast Calverton. 

Visibility was only a half- to a quarter-mile at times, making for hazardous travel conditions all day. Unable to get around safely by car and hampered by snowy sidewalks, some New Yorkers got creative. At least one woman used skis to get around.

Black ice could be a potential danger overnight as temperatures plunge into the teens in Manhattan, and into the single digits in the distant north and west of the city. 

Temperatures will warm a little this weekend, with highs in the 40s under mostly cloudy skies. Sprinkles are possible Saturday and rain is likely Sunday.

Contact Us