Winter Storm Hits Tri-State, Expected To Last Through Early Morning

WCBS 880 Newsroom
December 02, 2019 - 6:45 pm
LIRR after snow

Marta Zielinska - WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A dangerous winter storm struck the Tri-State area Monday and the snow, sleet and ice is expected to last through Tuesday morning.

While the morning commute is expected to be mostly wet, the snow will stop for much of the region by the afternoon and is expected to stick around until after midnight Tuesday.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio called WCBS 880 on Monday to reveal his strategy for dealing with the storm.

"It's going to be a sloppy one later on, I think people should get ready for a nasty commute on the way home," de Blasio said.

He also urged all listeners to take it slow and not use their vehicles unless it is absolutely necessary.

During the evening commute, WCBS 880’s Steve Burns spoke to dozens of rail passengers who left work early to avoid a repeat of the November 2018 snow storm, when some experienced 10-hour commutes.

“I have no faith in New Jersey Transit,” said one rider, who left work early in the hopes of having a fairly normal commute.

However, NJ Transit says it puts in a lot of effort to get ready for events such as this by winterizing equipment, making sure heating works and cutting back trees.

The agency anticipates regular service on its rail, bus, light rail and access link services. NJ Transit rail will accept NJ Transit bus tickets and passes on the Port Jervis line trains to and from Harriman, Tuxedo and Sloatsburg. ShortLine bus will also cross-honor in Orange County.   

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also noted officials started preparing for the storm well in advance, salting the roads at the end of the week. Over 2,100 pieces of equipment were also deployed to clear the roads.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is were we ahead of this? Did we do everything we could to get ahead of it?" Murphy said. 

The governor warned earlier in the day that the worst of the winter storm had yet to come and urged people to stay off the roads.

"When you are on your way home please take it slow and use common sense and caution," he said. 

State government offices in New Jersey closed at noon Monday for nonessential employees. 

A truck ban started at midnight along I-78 and I-80 west of I-287. It's also in effect on I-287 from Route 78 to the New York state line. That includes RV's and trailers pulled by passenger vehicles. There are no restrictions on travel on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike.

Meanwhile, in New York City, public schools remained opened in the morning, but after-school events that required yellow bus transportation were canceled.

Schools will be open Tuesday. 

"The good news is what we're going to see in the snow is later on in the day, so were certainly able to get the school day off fine," de Blasio said.

Subways were said to be running normally, according to the mayor. The MTA said it will be deploying specialized snow removal and de-icing equipment on commuter and subway rails and will be equipping buses with chains.

The mayor assured listeners that the city is prepared for the worse, saying that one of the "great lessons" he's learned is that you never know what Mother Nature is going to do.

"That snow can come earlier than we think it could come and in bigger amounts than we think so," the mayor adds. "We're going to be ready, our teams are out there, from sanitation, they're doing a great job salting the streets, they'll be ready to plow as it starts to accumulate."

The New York City Department of Sanitation posted a snow alert that started Sunday and the New York City Office of Emergency Management also issued a travel advisory. 

The mayor said there are 1,500 plows, 700 salt spreaders and additional staffing at the ready as the storm intensifies.

A winter storm warning is in effect for Morris and Sussex counties in New Jersey, while a winter storm watch is in effect for western Passaic, western Bergen, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and northern Westchester counties. A winter weather advisory is in effect for the nearby northern and western suburbs.

Flight-tracking site FlightAware says there were more than 1,100 canceled flights Sunday in the U.S., compared with 407 on Saturday. Delays reached 4,999 nationwide, with hundreds at New York City airports. Major airlines are offering travel waivers for passengers traveling through New York area airports because of the storm.

With a brief lull in the storm early Monday morning, things were looking up at Newark Airport with many flights taking off on time, but travelers are being warned that delays and cancellations may climb as the winter weather worsens throughout the day.

More than 200 flights into or out of the U.S. are canceled as of Monday morning. 

New York Gov. Cuomo cut short a trip to Puerto Rico to return home and deal with the storm. On Monday, he declared a state of emergency for several upstate counties and deployed 300 members of the National Guard to help with snow removal and clean-up operations.

State offices in Connecticut are open for regular business hours.. Gov. Ned Lamont says his team will be assessing the storm throughout the day and issue updates as necessary.

The wintry weather will be gone by Tuesday, when it will be mostly sunny, brisk and cold, with a high near 40. However, WCBS 880 meteorologist Bob Larson warns the roads may be icy in some areas during the commute.

Wednesday will be partly cloudy with highs in the low 40s.