SOHO — Officials warned New Yorkers not to be lulled by Wednesday's record warmth, with a snow alert starting early Thursday morning with up to 12 inches expected to fall through the day.
The flakes are expected to start falling at about midnight, bringing heavy, fast-falling snow during the morning commute, according to the Office of Emergency Management. New Yorkers were advised to avoid driving and use caution when commuting to and from work.
"Folks please, don't be fooled by the warm weather," OEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito said during a Thursday press conference.
"A winter storm warning is in effect from midnight tonight to 6 p.m. tomorrow night, so the storm is coming. We can expect between 6 and 12 inches."
The heaviest snow is expected to fall between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., with up to three inches of wet flakes falling per hour, Esposito added.
"That will create whiteout conditions," the commissioner said. "The visibility will be very, very poor."
The Department of Sanitation will have 2,300 piece of equipment including plows and spreaders at the ready and expects to use between 30,000 and 50,000 tons of salt.
DOS salt spreaders and plows were to start clearing roads early Thursday morning. (DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg)
The department will also be using smaller plows to get more-difficult to access streets in Staten Island and Queens, officials said.
The salting will begin as soon as the first flakes start falling the plows will roll out once there is at least 2 inches of snow on the ground, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said during the press conference.
Officials urged New Yorkers to stay off the roads and use public transportation to commute.
"This will be a very dangerous storm," Garcia said. "During the period of time that it's coming down it will be extraordinarily difficult to drive."
Alternate side parking will be suspended Thursday, so New Yorkers won't have to worry about moving their vehicles.
The MTA could also see service changes with some express lines running local and reduction in bus service, depending on snow accumulation, according to the agency.
A Code Blue was also issued for the city's homeless, officials said. No one will be turned away from city shelters and the usual intake procedures will be loosened.