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3 to 5 Inches of Snow Expected to Fall by Tuesday AM Commute

By  Trevor Kapp Sybile Penhirin and Aidan Gardiner | February 16, 2015 8:53am | Updated on February 16, 2015 3:30pm

 Crowds packed subway platforms and trains in Union Square as cold weather wreaked havoc on the Monday morning commute.
Crowds packed subway platforms and trains in Union Square as cold weather wreaked havoc on the Monday morning commute.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

MANHATTAN — The cold weather blues won't go anywhere soon with single-digit temperatures Monday due to give way to 3 to 5 inches of snow Tuesday morning and below-freezing highs until Sunday, weather officials said.

Snow was expected to begin about 3 a.m. Tuesday and accumulate several inches of "powdery fluffy snow" by the morning rush hour, National Weather Service officials said.

"We do expect snow to continue tomorrow, probably tapering off early afternoon," said NWS's Tim Morrin.

"After the snow ends we’ll stay mostly cloudy with a high temperature of 24," he added.


Tuesday's snowy commute will follow another frustrating morning rush hour Monday when New Yorkers braved single-digit temperatures to face system-wide subway disruptions, officials said.

Service along the 2, 3, 4, 5 and Q lines was disrupted due to the MTA's Cold Weather Plan, but nearly all other subway lines also faced delays and disruptions, including the 7 and N trains, which experienced switch problems, according to the MTA's website.

"What's a 'Cold Weather Plan'? That means nothing. There's no reason for it to run local. It's a real inconvenience," said Tuesday Nelson, 50, who was heading to her Midtown doctor's office, but hopped off at Union Square after some confusion about whether her 6 train was running local or express.

"It's ridiculous. They can't come up with anything better than 'Cold Weather Plan'? They'll probably have a 'Hot Weather Plan' in the summer."


Under the cold plan, MTA stored many trains on express tracks around the city in case of emergency situations like the ice that shut down the 7 train on Feb. 2, according to MTA spokeswoman Judy Glave.

"We implement the Cold Weather Plan when there's a possibility of freezing on the rails. This allows us to have the de-icing equipment ready and able to move quickly," Glave said.

The plan would again be in effect for Tuesday's morning rush, but Glave couldn't say whether it would be implemented again later in the week.

"It's evaluated on a daily basis," the spokeswoman said.

It was not immediately clear if the switch problems and other service disruptions stemmed from the cold weather, MTA officials said. The issues were compounded by the fact that trains were running on a Saturday schedule for Presidents Day.


Riders vented their frustrations over the delays and crowded trains they faced during the morning commute.

"It's freaking cold; now there are train delays. Usually it takes me 35 minutes to get to work. Today it's like 1 hour, 10," said Travis Leon, 25, a banker from Sheepshead Bay who waited for a 4 or 5 train to Midtown at Union Square, where the express Lexington Avenue lines were running local to 125th Street.

"We've had worse weather than this. It's just excuses. These are all indoor stations. Why are they affected?"

Gregoria de la Rosa, a home health aide in The Bronx, fumed as she watched the time creep by at Union Square.

"It's really frustrating. I've been waiting 12 minutes for a train," said de la Rosa, 60, of the Lower East Side. "They need to improve this. It's ridiculous. I've got to get up to The Bronx, but I'm gonna be late."

The MTA referred riders to its website for service updates.

Temperatures hovered at about 4 degrees for the morning commute, with bitter winds making it feel between 5 and 15 below zero, an NWS spokesman said.

"It's almost unbearable outside," said Amanda Ballinger, 26, a dog walker who was passing through a park near the American Museum of Natural History Monday morning.

"I'm going to be outside for 6 or 7 hours today so I've bundled up. I got five T-shirts under my sweatshirt and two pairs of leggings under my pants. And I try to go to Starbucks whenever I can to warm up," she added. 

"The cold is brutal."

A large swath of arctic air has swung down to the Eastern Seaboard and will keep temperatures below freezing until Sunday, when they'll rise to a high of 40, Morrin said.

"It'll be something to look forward to," he noted.