By Mariel S. Clark and Jim Scott
MANHATTAN — Central Park broke a more than century-old record Friday when February became the all time snowiest month, according to the National Weather Service.
A total of 36.9 inches of snow fell in Central Park, where the National Weather Service measures snowfall, during the month of February.
The snow amount broke the old record of 30.5 inches set in March of 1896.
This latest storm contributed to much of the park's total for the month; 20.8 inches covered the ground as of 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Mother Nature sucker-punched New Yorkers Friday as they woke up to far worse weather conditions than forecasters and officials initially predicted from a massive and deadly snowstorm.
Nasty winds topping 50 mph and snow that fell at roughly an inch an hour didn't let up throughout the night, making for dangerous road conditions, public transit headaches and sporadic power outages. The National Weather Service extended its Major Winter Storm Warning through Saturday.
The storm killed a Brooklyn man in Central Park on Thursday and caused at least one partial building collapse, in Harlem, on Friday, officials said.
Just before dawn, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein reversed their decision made Thursday not to close public schools. At roughly 5:30 a.m., the city made the call to close schools.
The news was met with joy by school children around the city.
Third-grader Shuma Saito was thrilled when he found out he had a snow day.
"Everybody step aside its closed," he said after seeing that P.S. 41 on the Upper West Side was shuttered for the day.
Alternate side parking rules were suspended for Friday, but parking meter rules were still in effect.
Before the storm clears the area on Saturday, as much as 20 inches could cover the city.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a Friday press conference that 2,200 workers were out clearing the snow, along with 365 salt trucks and 1,600 snow plows. Bloomberg said more than 170,000 tons of salt were available for use city wide.
The Dept. of Homeless Services said it had declared a Code Blue, and more outreach workers were deployed to help people living on the streets seek shelter.
Con Edison reported small outages in Manhattan. One outage was affecting 17 customers on Mott and Spring streets. Two others on the Upper West Side — on 79th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues and on 85th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West — were also reported.
The roof of a two-story building at 144th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem collapsed, Bloomberg said.
State courts in Manhattan closed at 1 p.m.
The snow meant misery for many New Yorkers but good business for others.
"A lot of roofs will be leaking and people will be calling and saying there's a plumbing problem," said plumber Al Hosein.
But he admitted he wasn't jumping to get out in the storm, even for a good paycheck.
"I'll wait for [work] to call. If they don't call, I'm not going," he said, laughing.