Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winter Storm Stella Spares New York from the Worst But Officials Say 'Dangerous' Conditions Continue

Rachel Delia Benaim, James Crugnale and Stephanie Valera
Published: March 14,2017

While New York City was largely spared a full-scale blizzard Tuesday from Winter Storm Stella, city officials warned residents of "dangerous" conditions and advised them to stay clear of roads.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City would remain in a "state of emergency" until midnight on Wednesday, as maintenance crews continued to work on de-icing slippery roadways.
He also said that New York City public schools would be back open on Wednesday as the weather situation appeared to be "under control."
"What we saw here is a very different than what was projected, even as of late yesterday," de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday. "The National Weather Service does everything they know how to do. Mother Nature still makes its own decisions."
Most of the brunt of the storm affected upstate New York as 2,000 National Guard members have been called to help as towns north and west of the New York City metropolitan-area struggle to dig out of Stella.
The National Weather Service announced a winter weather advisory in the tri-state area for snow and sleet until 8 p.m.
"Over 90 percent of flights are cancelled and government, schools are closed," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted on Tuesday morning. "There is no reason to be on the roads. It's dangerous."
After suspension of services on Tuesday morning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that aboveground subway service and limited Metro-North service will resume at 6 p.m. New York City bus service will also begin running normally at 5 a.m. Wednesday, the MTA tweeted.
The Long Island Rail Road and PATH are running with some delays. N.J. Transit is on a weekend schedule.
Amtrak announced they would be running on a modified schedule in their northeast operations, with no Acela Express service between New York City and Boston. In addition, "there will be be limited Acela service between New York and Washington. Northeast Regional trains will run on a modified schedule, with some trains truncated or cancelled."
JFK, La Guardia and Newark Liberty airports remained open Tuesday but Winter Storm Stella grounded hundreds of flights, with more than 800 flights cancelled at LaGuardia and 700 flights cancelled at JFK, according to FlightAware.
JFK airport tweeted that "flight activity has slowly resumed" as of 4:45 p.m., posting a photo of a UPS jet as the first to land there Tuesday afternoon, but urged passengers to confirm with their carriers first before arriving at the airport.
"Airline passengers are strongly urged to call their carrier before going to the airports today or later this week and also should not go to the airports unless they have a reservation," Port Authority officials said in a statement.
The East River Ferry suspended service on Tuesday but they "anticipate restoration of service" on Wednesday, according to their Twitter account.
Citi Bike announced it was closing all rentals in New York. "Due to heavy snow in the forecast, the Citi Bike system is currently closed," @CitiBikeNYC tweeted. "Stay tuned for updates on the system reopening."
New Jersey Transit also suspended all bus service, with plans to operate on a normal schedule on Wednesday, depending on local road conditions.
(MORE: Latest Impacts in DC | Philly | Boston | Cold Temps Return)
New York City Public Schools will reopen on Wednesday, after closing on Tuesday.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has lifted a statewide travel ban in Connecticut.  Malloy said the travel ban, which took effect at 5 a.m. Tuesday, was no longer in place as of 5:30 p.m. He said state agencies will be open for business Wednesday, crediting the travel ban with helping crews remove snow on state roads.
President Donald Trump also urged East Coast residents to stay safe throughout the duration of the winter storm.
(MORE: Coastal Flooding from Winter Storm Stella Inundates New Jersey Roads)
New Jersey was hit with significant power outages from the storm, with more than 35,000 customers without power.
Coastal flooding was also reported in New Jersey as a result of Winter Storm Stella. "Flooding has begun in #StoneHarborNJ," tweeted Zeke Orzech. "This is a combo of heavy rain and tide."  Many residents reported that streets near Ocean City were covered with water Tuesday morning.
Some water rescues were reported in Atlantic City. The Ventnor Fire Department performed four rescues of people who tried to drive through the waters, according to NJ.com.
Governor Christie explained that the storm affected various regions of the state in differing ways in a CBS News interview.
"In the southern parts of the state, (there's) mostly rain, freezing rain and sleet. On the Jersey Shore... this is the most difficult time because high tide is in and we are going to see moderate shore flooding," Christie said. "In the northern part of the state you'll see snow, wind and it's going to make clearing the roads up here in the northern part of the state more difficult. It's going to be a long day."
Shore towns in low-lying areas remained on alert of flooded roadways. Many of the streets are expected to freeze over in the evening hours.
Icy road conditions are anticipated around most of Eastern New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The National Weather Service is advised residents who live west of I-95 to remain indoors from 2 a.m. to until at least 2 p.m. Tuesday until the system passes.
Blizzard warnings were lifted on Tuesday morning for New York City and parts of northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut, while winter storm warnings and watches were issued for the remainder of the Northeast. The heaviest snowfall was expected Tuesday morning through the afternoon, with snowfall rates of as much as 2 to 4 inches per hour.
New York City is bracing for continued sleet and snow; with Winter Storm Stella being the heaviest snowstorm so far this season since Feb. 9, when Winter Storm Niko dumped 10.9 inches.
Along the coast, storm surges of 2 to 3 feet are expected, which would cause minor to moderate flooding.
(FORECAST: The Latest for Winter Storm Stella)
New York’s Department of Sanitation said "2,200 pieces of DSNY equipment (were) currently clearing NYC's 6,300 miles of roads."
"Please give plow operators the right of way. Be safe," @NYCSanitation tweeted on Tuesday morning.
Cuomo activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center earlier on Monday and said he has directed state agencies “to continue proactively preparing communities and roadways for this major storm.”
Motorists in New York state can call 511 or access www.511ny.org to check on road conditions and transit information. The region anticipates "substantial MTA service changes," which would affect subways, buses, the Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.Many airlines are allowing passengers to make a one-time change to their flights without a fee in many of its affected markets, including Newark, LaGuardia, JFK and Philadelphia. American Airlines announced Monday it would suspend operations at LaGuardia and JFK on Tuesday.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie urged New Jersey motorists to stay off the roads.
"I urge all New Jerseyans to remain off the roads so we can safely and efficiently handle all emergency situations," Christie tweeted. "Be safe everyone!"
In Connecticut, State Department of Transportation says that will have 634 trucks on the road along with 250 contractor plows at the ready.
"This is going to be a lot of snow very quickly," said Connecticut DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick. "Unless it’s an emergency situation, people should stay off the road Tuesday. You’re not going to see 3 feet in front of your vehicle, you won’t see the shoulder or the snow plow. There will be 50 mph winds and very low visibility. This storm is no joke."
Stella arrives just a week after the region saw temperatures climb into the 60s.
New York City has seen 36 winter storms since 1869 that have produced a foot or more of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Just four of those storms have occurred in March, with the last happening March 3-4, 1960.
– Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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