With Chicago going through sub-arctic temperatures on Wednesday, New Yorkers may have considered themselves lucky to avoid the worst of winter. But with a snow squall predicted to come in Wednesday night and a cold snap in the next two days, the National Weather Service has warned of “life-threatening” travel conditions for evening commuters.
“It’s going to be a trying time, and we want to make sure everyone is prepared,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference. “Take precautions–think especially about children.”
The snow squall may be as short as 15 minutes in some parts of the city, but even during that brief period it could create whiteout conditions, making walking unsafe and driving life-threatening.
“If you can use mass transit, please do. If you have to drive, either go soon or if you do end up running into these conditions, the best advice we can give is to pull over if you can,” de Blasio added. “Don’t try and drive through it if you don’t have to.”
Though the Mayor announced that the snow squall and cold snap would not be affecting school schedules over the next few days, though he predicted that school buses would likely be delayed tonight–though the City Council’s legislation to track school buses with GPS has not been implemented yet.
“We will have after-school activities today,” de Blasio said. “But we encourage parents who are in a position to pick up their kids earlier to do so.”
The city has already deployed as many as 700 salt spreaders to cope with the sudden influx of snow, and de Blasio has declared a “Code Blue,” meaning that homeless shelters are required to take in as many people from the street as can legally fit in the buildings. Additionally, the city has begun to send out heating vans and centers, and urges everyone to call 311 or 911 if they see anyone in need of help.
“Do not assume it’s business as usual,” de Blasio said.