Icy Cuomo (Tappan Zee) Bridge Shuts Down for Hours Amid Multi-Car Crash

New York City could see a couple of inches before snow changes over to rain midday

What to Know

  • Snow began falling Wednesday morning and is expected to change over to sleet and rain by afternoon, possibly making for a messy commute
  • The Mario Cuomo Bridge (a.k.a. the Tappan Zee Bridge) was shut down in both directions as authorities attended to a multi-car crash
  • Thursday will be a slight improvement, but it will be blustery with a mix of sun and clouds ahead of a more mild weekend

Snow and slush began slicking over the tri-state area Wednesday morning, posing problems for drivers on icy roads and bridges, including on the Mario Cuomo Bridge (aka the Tappan Zee), which had to be shut down in both directions amid a multi-vehicle crash. 

The first snow flurries associated with the weather system started falling in midtown around 8 a.m. and rapidly picked up intensity, moving sideways with the wind. 

The bridge quickly iced over by late morning, forcing authorities to close it in both directions for hours as emergency responders attended to two crashes involving at least 12 vehicles, according to officials. Sources familiar with the emergency response say at least two people had to be extricated, and state police said there were numerous injuries, state police said. 

Traffic into the bridge was so heavy that some ambulances couldn't even make it to the scene.

"We were stopped, and we never got to the original scene because we couldn't get through," said Tarrytown EMT Robert Kearns. 

Driver Manuel Panetta of Mount Vernon said he was trapped on the bridge for at least two hours. 

Two northbound lanes and the southbound lanes were re-opened by 1 p.m., but there were still delays. 

The snow changed over to sleet and rain by afternoon. Hundreds of flights were canceled at Newark, LaGuardia and JFK by then, according to the Port Authority.

The snow will change to plain rain by the afternoon. Daytime highs look to peak around 40 degrees in and around the city, with areas to the north and west only seeing highs rise into the mid 30s.

The slushy mix could pose problems for the evening commutes in and around New York City, while snow to the north and west could pile up to a half a foot or more, Storm Team 4 says.

Most across the tri-state will continue to see showers, even periods of heavy rain, through the evening commute Wednesday. Precipitation could briefly transition back to snow later that evening as colder air wraps in behind the weather system, though most spots will see conditions dry out and clear overnight.

Much of the Jersey Shore and Long Island will see the quickest transition from snow to rain, meaning only an inch at most is expected. 

Colder spots well to the north and west of the city will see snow consistently fall through most of the morning and early afternoon before rain mixes in. Accumulations ranging from 3 to 5 inches, possibly more in isolated locations, are expected in those areas, particularly Orange County. Localized amounts of up to 7 inches is possible.

The city and nearby suburbs are expected to get about 2 to 4 inches before the switch to rain.

Winter storm warnings are in effect through Thursday morning for a number of counties in the Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey. Much of the rest of the region is under a winter weather advisory for most of the day Wednesday. Check details here. Dozens are area schools have already announced delays and closures. See the full list here

Bright, blustery conditions return Thursday ahead of more cloud buildup Friday -- and another chance of flurries.

The weekend turns milder, but there is a chance for some showers Saturday night ahead of a better chance on Sunday. Next week’s workweek will begin seasonably with partly to mostly cloudy skies on Monday and highs in the 40s.

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