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City Prepares For Wintry Blast; Blizzard Warning In Effect

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TWC News: City Prepares For Wintry Blast; Blizzard Warning In Effect
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City and state officials are preparing for a blast of winter that could bring heavy winds and a mixed bag of precipitation heading into the weekend.

The National Weather service has issued a blizzard warning for the five boroughs through 1 p.m. Saturday.

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, forecasts say the heaviest precipitation is expected to arrive late Friday night through the early morning hours on Saturday.

Heavy wind gusts up to 60 mph are possible, meaning white-out conditions are possible at times.

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, some models are showing parts of the city could see anywhere between 5 and 8 inches of accumulation, while others show possible accumulations of 12 to 18 inches.

A coastal flood watch will also be in effect Friday night for those living along the shorelines of the Bronx and northern Queens. State officials say those who live by the coast should have their own evacuation plans in place, in case flood waters are headed to their homes, and should prepare a "go bag" with emergency supplies like prescription drugs and flashlights.

There may be waves as high as 25 feet as a result of the storm, with a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet.

Nevertheless, state officials say the snow storm will be far less severe compared to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

"It's not going to be close to what we saw during Sandy. We're seeing storm surge of three to five feet with some wave action. The surge during Sandy went up to 13.5, 14 feet. You really can't compare them," said Jerome Hauer of the State Committee for Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

The emergency operations center for the state is expected to open at noon Friday.

Transit Updates

Amtrak is ending its northbound train service from Penn Station at 12:30 p.m. Friday and its Acela Express service is ending a half-hour later.

At this point, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has no plans to shut down service but it will thin out subway and bus use during the height of the storm and store assets underground.

There will be extra Metro-North trains early Friday afternoon to help customers get home before the snow gets too bad, but that also means there will be fewer trains after 5 p.m.

They warn that cancellations are more likely as the evening progresses to prevent trains from becoming stranded.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it expects flight and bus changes as a result of the storm, and says that PATH changes are possible.

The Port Authority says it is mobilizing extra crews and equipment on 12-hour shifts to keep its bridges, tunnels and airports clear and operational.

That includes 200 plows, salt spreaders and de-icers, as well as 2,000 tons of salt and 1,500 tons of sand for the spreaders.

It is also mobilizing equipment to clear tracks along the PATH.

Newark and LaGuardia Airports are among the top three airports in the northeast with the most flights for Friday canceled, according to the Associated Press.

Alternate-side parking rules will be suspended citywide through Sunday, though meters will still be in effect.

City Workers Brace For Storm Conditions

Mayor Michael Bloomberg downplayed expectations for a significant storm, but both he and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty stressed the city is prepared to respond no matter what happens.

"The better news is that if it's going to happen, having it happen on a Friday is probably as good timing as we could have because the sanitation department then has the advantage of being able to clean the streets when there's normally less traffic," Bloomberg said.

"I expect tomorrow night when it starts to come down we'll be out plowing," said Doherty. "There is an off chance we could be plowing tomorrow morning if the temperature doesn't rise early enough but we're prepared for that. We've set up the operation so that if tomorrow there is a delay in turning to rain, we will be ready with our plows and our salt spreaders."

Sanitation workers will be doing longer shifts starting Friday night as the storm makes its way in.

Residents can track the progress of snowplows on the city's website, nyc.gov.

Cuomo Has National Grid Provide Extra Help To LIPA Ahead Of Storm

The beleaguered Long Island Power Authority is getting a helping hand from National Grid ahead of the storm.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has told the upstate power utility to prepare to bolster LIPA, which was slammed by Albany for it's response to Hurricane Sandy.

National Grid is securing hundreds of extra crews and restoration equipment on Long Island, and working with local officials to plan for emergencies that may arise.

LIPA serves Queens customers in the Rockaways, as well as the suburban counties to the east.

Consolidated Edison says its crews are also getting ready for possible power outages brought on by the storm.

Utility spokesman Michael Clendenin says crews are on hand all over the city to respond to reports of outages and says the top priority will be to get customers' power back on safely.

"All those wet power lines and moisture will probably build up. It could freeze making the lines heavy and then you have snow on top of that, so we're certainly anticipating a fair number of outages," Clendenin said.

To report an outage, call 1-800-75-CONED or visit their website.

With heavy winds expected along with the snow, the Department of Buildings is asking all contractors and property owners to secure all loose materials including tools, fuses and other similar items.

Contractors and developers must secure all netting and scaffolding as well as cease all crane operations.

All electrical equipment also needs to be covered.

Homeowners are asked to do the same including bringing in lawn furniture, toys and other loose items.

They are also asked to secure awnings and tie down gas grills and propane tanks.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross is urging residents to prepare for the possibility of severe weather.

It says residents should prep for the snow and power outages that could result from damaging winds, especially in areas with trees that were already weakened by the hurricane.

The Red Cross says people should have a disaster kit ready.

It should include first aid, medications, water and non-perishable food. It should also include a flashlight, batteries and a battery-powered radio.

So far this winter, the city has gotten 7 inches of snow, 4.7 inches of which came in a storm in November, one week after Sandy.

For more information, visit redcross.org.

Web Extra: City Storm Prep Update (Full Press Conference)


TWC News: City Prepares For Wintry Blast; Blizzard Warning In Effect
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Web Extra: State Storm Prep Update (Full Press Conference)


TWC News: City Prepares For Wintry Blast; Blizzard Warning In Effect
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

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