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Winter Storm Could Dump 3 to 6 Inches of Snow on City

By  Jill Colvin and Julie  Shapiro | March 5, 2013 6:57pm | Updated on March 6, 2013 8:41pm

NEW YORK CITY — A messy mix of snow and rain is on the way to the city starting late Wednesday night — and it won't let up until Friday morning, forecasters warned.

New York City could see 3 to 6 inches of snow, coastal flooding and winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour as the slow-moving Winter Storm Saturn parks itself over the area, the National Weather Service said.

"In short, the region has one sloppy mess on the way," said AccuWeather.com meteorologist .

The snow showers will begin late Wednesday or early Thursday, with 1 to 2 inches accumulating by morning rush hour, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said.

Light snow will mix with rain throughout the day on Thursday, and then another 1 to 3 inches of snow could fall overnight into Friday morning, the meteorologist said.

In advance of the storm, the city's Department of Sanitation issued a "snow alert" and began readying equipment, including 365 salt spreaders, snow plows and tire chains.

The National Weather Service is forecasting sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, through 6 p.m. Thursday. On Wednesday afternoon, winds had already hit 46 miles per hour during one gust in Central Park.

The service also issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for early Thursday morning, when tides are expected to be between 2.5 and 3.5 feet higher than normal, with waves as high as 8 to 14 feet, meteorologists said.

As a precaution, the Department of Buildings has advised property owners and contractors to secure buildings and construction sites, including cranes and scaffolding.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo activated the state's Emergency Operations Center in Albany Wednesday afternoon to monitor the storm, and Con Edison mobilized extra crews in case of power outages.

The most recent storm to hit the city was Winter Storm Nemo, which blanketed Central Park with more than 11 inches of snow last month and turned the city into a Winter Wonderland.

The Weather Channel began the controversial process of naming winter storms earlier this year.

Stay tuned to DNAinfo.com New York's weather page for developments in the storm.