Mayor Bill de Blasio cautioned New Yorkers to stay off the roads Saturday as he said at least a foot of snow is currently anticipated for this weekend’s impending storm.
"Unless it is urgent — stay off the roads,” the mayor warned Friday afternoon, declaring a “winter weather emergency,” starting at 8 a.m. Saturday and lasting until at least midnight.
The weather emergency was not, like occurred last winter, a full-vehicle ban, but a message to motorists to avoid any unnecessary driving.
“[This warning is] less intense but still very, very serious,” de Blasio said, adding that residents should “get what you need to get done today.”
The updated weather forecast is now predicting 12 to 18 inches and is “more accurate for New York,” the mayor said early Friday afternoon. There is also a coastal flood warning for Staten Island, Brooklyn and southern Queens, and a coastal flood advisory for the Bronx and northern Queens.
The mayor, often scrutinized for his handling of snowstorms, once again tried to assure New Yorkers that the city is prepared for its first storm of the season.
The Sanitation Department is pre-deploying 579 salt spreaders Friday evening, and will dispatch 1,650 plows when more than two inches of snow accumulates, with 135 additional plows from other agencies. There are also 2,300 workers per shift, working two 12-hour shifts for this storm , and 303,000 tons of rock salt ready for the season. All scheduled Saturday trash, recycling and organics collections are suspended because of snow clearing operations.
But the mayor’s main emphasis during his storm briefing was to stay off city streets and use public transit as much as possible. He also cautioned that any vehicles that get in the way of snow clearing will be towed. Alternate Side Parking regulations will be suspended Saturday.
“I want all New Yorkers to feel that it’s their responsibility and their mission to stay off the streets,” de Blasio said.