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Don't Leave the House During Saturday Snowstorm, Mayor Says

By  Aidan Gardiner and Ben Fractenberg | January 22, 2016 7:41am | Updated on January 23, 2016 8:14am

 A couple walk through Midtown during a cold, mid-winter day, Jan. 21, 2016.
A couple walk through Midtown during a cold, mid-winter day, Jan. 21, 2016.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

NEW YORK CITY — With blizzard conditions in the forecast, the mayor warned New Yorkers to stay home when what could be a vicious snowstorm hits the city Saturday.

"Unnecessary driving should be avoided. Unless it is urgent, stay off the road," Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference at the Office of Emergency Management Friday afternoon. 

The city should expect 12 to 18 inches of snow and strong north-by-northeast winds gusting up to 55 mph before the storm dissipates by Sunday, the mayor added.

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The storm, which was dubbed "Jonas" by The Weather Channel, battered New York City Saturday morning amid a blizzard warning, which will be in effect between Saturday 4 a.m. until Sunday at noon.

The snow is expected to be heaviest between 8 a.m. Saturday and mid-afternoon, officials said. 

They also issued a coastal flood warning from Saturday about 5 p.m. through midnight.

Officials don't expect the need to evacuate costal areas, but there are 16 evacuation sites in the city if needed. 

Saturday evening high tides between 7:30 to 8 p.m. could bring more than 8 feet of floods to Jamaica Bay, the Rockaways and the Battery, forecasters say.

Officials also told New Yorkers to call 911 if they saw homeless people or senior in distress. 

Residents were also advised to call 311 if they are without heat or hot water. 

Alternate side parking rules will be suspended Saturday, de Blasio said, but cars blocking plows from going down roadways will be towed. 

The mayor said that earlier storms have shown the city how to prepare for this storm and that it is ready.

"This isn't anywhere near as bad as Sandy," de Blasio said on CNN early Friday morning. "We can handle a storm like this."