UPDATED STORY: Travel Ban Lifted as City Digs Out From 26.8 Inches of Snow
NEW YORK CITY — City streets will reopen to all traffic at 7 a.m. Sunday, following a ban on all non-emergency vehicles that began Saturday afternoon.
Streets remained a ghost town into the evening on Saturday and all buses and the aboveground sections of the subway remained suspended as the city was blanketed by what officials warned could amount to 30 inches of snow.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo put out a modified MTA subway map on Saturday showing only the stations that would be in operation during the storm:
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Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency Saturday morning amid a snow forecast that continued to climb as forecasters warned of a possible storm surge.
"Go home, stay home," the mayor said at a press conference Saturday morning, as he updated the city on the first winter storm of 2016.
A full travel ban on the roads "literally means except for emergency vehicles and authorized" people, all other travel on roads is banned," de Blasio said, adding that anyone not authorized to be on the roads would be subject to arrest, and their car would be towed.
The Port Authority shut down the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing at 2:30 p.m., saying they wouldn't reopen until "conditions permit."
All over the city, ambulances got stuck in the snow and there were hundreds of car crashes, officials said.
The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood advisory from 5 p.m. until midnight Sunday for low-lying neighborhoods along the water.
Residents can expect "minor to locally moderate coastal impacts," they said. The next high tide begins at around 7 p.m. at different coastal parts of the city.
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"Public safety is paramount," MTA New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim said at the afternoon press conference.
"Unless there is an emergency situation or a critical need, you should not be on the road," Cuomo said. "They are incredibly dangerous."
All flights out of John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport have been canceled, Cuomo said.
Of the few people who were outside, some were trying to make the best of the atrocious conditions.
Uber driver Quincey Lyken, of Crown Heights, said working today was obviously impossible. Instead, he helped his neighbors shovel their steps.
"They shut down the system so I might as well do this," he said.
"We're gonna build a snowman and have snow fights," said 8-year-old Deena Barnes who was headed to Crown Heights' Lincoln Terrace Park — throwing snowballs at her older sister Tianna as she walked.
Wendell Hayde and his girlfriend bought sleds before heading to the park, too.
"We're trying to have some fun," he said.
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