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Schools to Remain Open, But Transit Slows Down Amid Major Snowstorm

By Colby Hamilton | January 21, 2014 5:25pm | Updated on January 21, 2014 8:11pm
 The mayor held off closing schools after the big snow storm, waiting to see the road conditions in the morning to make the decision.
The mayor held off closing schools after the big snow storm, waiting to see the road conditions in the morning to make the decision.
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DNAinfo/Colby Hamilton

CIVIC CENTER — As wintery conditions are expected worsen this evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers to stay home if at all possible, even as he said the decision on school closing has yet to be made.

"Everything's a factor, and that's what we're trying to think about here as we look forward to later in the evening, comparing notes on what's happening," de Blasio said on his school closure decision. "The temperature's a concern. The transportation situation's a concern. Obviously the level of snow."

Earlier this month, when 9 inches of snow fell shortly after New Years, de Blasio made the call to close schools early in the morning.

De Blasio said the current storm, unlike the one earlier this month, was significantly different in terms of when the snow was falling. Previously, the snowfall happened largely overnight, forcing the mayor and officials to hold off on announcing the closing.

“In this case, we very well may see all the snow done by the end of this evening, which gives us a much better chance to recover,” de Blasio said earlier Tuesday.

Road conditions remained mixed, as plows faced difficulties clearing streets during rush hour, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said during the briefing at OEM.

"The early rush hour bottled us up in a number of streets," he said.

Doherty also said conditions on the ground, including the reduced melting power of snow salt in the lower tempatures, meant residents should expect snowy streets in the morning.

"I think everybody, when they get up tomorrow…they're going to see white roads, no doubt about it," Doherty said.

Fire Department Commissioner Sal Cassano said emergency service vehicles were seeing a slowdown in response time due to poor road conditions, even as the city's 911 call volume was up 25 to 30 percent.

"Because of the conditions we're facing, we're going slower," he said.

Subway service overnight will be slowed down by the storm, officials said.

The MTA announced that trains will run less frequently after 8 p.m. due to the storm. Some lines that run above ground like the Dyre Line of the 5 train, the Sea Beach line of the N train, the Brighton line of the Q train and the Rockaway A train may be suspended if ice and snow buildup create a hazardous condition, according to the transit website.

The Mayor announced Staten Island ferry service would also see a reduction.