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De Blasio Urges New Yorkers to Stay Off Roads as Winter Storm Hits City

By Trevor Kapp | January 21, 2014 7:14am | Updated on January 21, 2014 3:53pm
 The snow began falling Tuesday morning and was expected to continue into Wednesday.
City Expected to Be Hit With Up to 14 Inches of Snow
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MIDTOWN — Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers to stay off the roads Tuesday as a winter storm hit the city and was forecast to drop up to 14 inches of snow.

"The fewer vehicles on the road, the better the Sanitation Department can do their jobs," de Blasio said in a storm update at City Hall.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning, predicting that Manhattan could see up to 10 inches of snow, while Brooklyn and Queens could see up to 14 inches.

The white stuff began falling lightly during Tuesday's morning commute — earlier than meteorologists had predicted. It's expected to continue snowing throughout the day into early Wednesday morning.

Winds of up to 36 mph are expected to accompany the snow. NWS meteorologists said the wind chill could reach 10 degrees below zero Tuesday night

De Blasio suspended trash and recycling for Tuesday and Wednesday, along with street cleaning and alternate side parking. However, meters remain in effect.

The MTA will curtail express service after rush hour on Tuesday, de Blasio said. Additionally, commuter rail trains were set to be added Tuesday afternoon to help riders get home more quickly. The mayor directed transit users to visit the MTA's website for more information.

The Staten Island ferry was running on a normal schedule, according to de Blasio, but changes in storm conditions could affect service.

The mayor said parents, students and school officials should plan on schools being open on Wednesday, but an update was expected either late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.

De Blasio implored those without shelter Tuesday to seek a safe place to sleep.

"Any family seeking shelter on a night like this, regardless of their eligibility for permanent shelter, any family will be granted temporary shelter to get them out of the elements and into safety," de Blasio said, urging New Yorkers to alert the city by calling 311 if they encountered a homeless person.

The Office of Emergency Management echoed the mayor's warnings, issuing a hazardous travel advisory for Tuesday and Wednesday. Motorists were asked to avoid the road unless absolutely necessary. Those who must drive should check weather and traffic reports before heading out and use major streets or highways, which will be cleared first.

“If you know someone who is vulnerable and lacking heat, help them get to warm places and notify the building manager and/or call 311 to get heat restoration,” reads a statement on the OEM’s website. “If you see someone with signs of hypothermia such as confusion, shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness call 911 for help and help the person get warm while waiting for help.”

The MTA canceled scheduled repairs to the E, F, M, and R lines at Queens Boulevard for the rest of the week.

“This will free up personnel for snow fighting and cleanup after the storm,” an MTA spokesman said.

If you are without power, contact Con Edison to report a problem or check on status. Con Ed crews will be working to restore outages and downed power lines throughout the storm, a spokesman said.

The utility provider also issued this list of safety tips.

The record for Jan. 21 snowfall is 6 inches, set in 2001.

The high for the date is 63 degrees, reached in 2006. The low is minus 2 degrees, set in 1985.