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Post-"blizzard" NYC reopens after forecasters' "imprecise science"

Trains, planes, automobiles get the green light
A plow at work in lower Manhattan on Monday.Wendy Joan Biddlecombe
Not since Mayor Rudy Giuliani shut the city and closed schools for a 2001 blizzard that never came, have so many in New York City been so scared of so little. Subways, buses, commuter trains and bridges were shut by 11 p.m.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency everywhere the storm could possibly hit, and banned New Yorkers from being on the roads.

Offices emptied out early, subways were parked underground to avoid forecast 2-foot snowfalls, 50 mph winds and 5-foot snowdrifts. Six thousand flights were canceled.

By 3 am it was clear the storm was dud. A dusting of dry zxnow, not even ankle-deep covered sidewalks in Manhattan. Garbage trucks with snowplows whizzed easily down Broadway.

The city had prepared but there was no Plan B.

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“This is an imprecise science,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters Tuesday morning. “It is still weather and that is the nature of the beast. There’s a certain imprecision and you plan the best you can and you lean toward safety.”

Cuomo and de Blasio said the subways would re-open by 9 a.m., with Sunday service levels restored by noon.

Schoolchildren were stuck at home, and working-class parents, the hourly and shift workers who only get paid when they work, were stuck.

And the usual comforts that keep New Yorkers were largely still closed like corner delis, theaters, and java joints. NY1 newsman was exasperated in a morning report that he couldn't get his morning Starbucks fix.

The Port Authority re-opened Kennedy, Newark and LaGuardia airports, but warned that many airlines had cancelled flights, and PATH trains were running on a weekend schedule, every 15 minutes.

The New York Stock exchange, a barometer of the city’s economic drive, stayed open, although since most trading is now done electronically, the lack of subway, bus and ferry service didn’t delay its 9:15 opening.\

MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said MTA service should return to a full weekday schedule on Wednesday.

An additional two to four inches are expected to fall on Tuesday, with high winds up to 40 mph. A new dusting of snow is due Thursday.

Between six and 10 inches of snow fell in different areas of the city but Long Island, was hit harder, with up to 18 inches reported. Suffolk had the worst of the region -- and a snow-related fatality.

A 17-year-old in Huntington who was sledding with pals, hit a light pole and suffered fatal head injuries, cops said.

 
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