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Blizzard Expected to Start Battering City Early Saturday, Mayor Says

By Trevor Kapp | January 21, 2016 12:07pm
 A man walks through the snow in 2015 on 77th St. in Elmhurst as the 7 train runs overhead.�
A man walks through the snow in 2015 on 77th St. in Elmhurst as the 7 train runs overhead.�
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DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

WEST VILLAGE — The first major storm of the winter is expected to start battering the city early Saturday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The boroughs are expected to be hit with eight to 12 inches of snow starting just after midnight Saturday and continuing through Sunday morning.

“When the storm hits, it is crucial for people to stay off the streets to the maximum extent possible,” de Blasio said at a news conference at Department of Sanitation headquarters Thursday.

“If you need to move around, use mass transit.”

The Department of Sanitation is deploying 2,300 workers and 579 salt spreaders beginning Friday night in preparation for the storm. More than 300,000 tons of salt will also be available, the mayor said.

Strong winds and coastal flooding are also in the forecast.

“Once we’re at plowable depths, which is anticipated to be between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, we will deploy our plow fleet,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said.

“We do anticipate that we will have blizzard conditions. There will be white-out conditions if you are driving.”

Garbage collection and alternate-side parking will likely be suspended through Monday. Schools are expected to be open Monday, but that could change depending on the severity of the storm, de Blasio and Garcia said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will be deploying resources and equipment throughout the weekend.

"I encourage all New Yorkers in the region to plan ahead, avoid unnecessary travel and, above all, stay safe," Cuomo said.

Last year, the mayor and governor were blasted by New Yorkers after the entire subway system was shut down overnight for what turned out to be just 10 inches of snow.  

De Blasio acknowledged that was a mistake and said his office is working closely with the governor's to avoid another fiasco.

“I think we all learned some good lessons from that,” de Blasio said.

“The lack of coordination was a real problem, and obviously the decision should’ve been different.

“This time, there’s going to be a lot more communication and coordination.”