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'Very Serious Blizzard' Could Dump 20 Inches of Snow, Mayor Says

By Aidan Gardiner | March 13, 2017 7:48am | Updated on March 13, 2017 9:52am

NEW YORK CITY — City agencies were bracing Monday for a major snowstorm that could dump as much as 20 inches of snow across the five boroughs and bring gusts up to 50 mph.

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the storm due to begin about midnight will be "a very serious blizzard, one that everyone should take seriously."

The snow will carry on through the Tuesday morning rush before tapering off by nightfall, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a blizzard warning for the city.

Snowstorm Timeline: Here's What To Expect Tuesday

Morning rush-hour could see a heavy dump of snow, according to the Weather Service's Brian Ciemnecki.

"We're looking to a period of very heavy snowfall through the commute and the morning," Ciemnecki said Monday morning.

Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing throughout the storm, dipping into the 20s during nightfall and rising up only to about 30 degrees, forecasters said.

Winds are expected to pick up Tuesday night when the storm begins, blowing between 25 and 35 mph, but continuing through the night, forecasters said.

Gusts are expected to peak about 45 mph, forecasters said.

Ciemnecki expects some scattered snow showers Wednesday, but every little accumulation.

"The main accumulating snow is done probably by Tuesday night," he said.

Forecasters warned the New Yorkers could lose power so they should charge their cellphones ahead of time, gather supples.

Here's how city agencies are preparing for the potential blizzard:

► Department of Education — Schools are due to be closed Tuesday, along with after school programs.

► The MTA — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced told commuters to expect service changes on all MTA buses, rails and subways. Cuomo didn't say what the changes would be as of Monday morning, apart from a 30 percent reduction in bus service. About 13,000 people will working 12-hour shifts to fight snow build up in the subway system. More than 3,000 people will be fighting snow on the Metro-North and LIRR lines.

► Staten Island Ferry — Ferries will run normally, but passengers should allow extra travel time.

► City Bike — Service is suspended during the storm until further notice.

► Roads — The Department of Transportation will deploy 1,600 plows and 689 salt spreaders that has 283,000 tons of salt at its disposal. About 2,400 workers have been assigned to 12-hour shifts that started at 7 a.m. Monday. Alternate side parking has also been suspended for Tuesday and Wednesday.

► Airports — Crews will deploy melters that can liquefy up to 500 tons of snow per hour and plows that can move snow at 40 mph.

► Bridges and tunnels — Crews with both the Port Authority and MTA will be out clearing bridges and tunnels, but officials have warned people to stay off the roads during the storm.

► Buildings — Cranes must stop their work by midnight Monday and secured. The Department of Buildings will do random inspections around the city. Construction crews should also secure their sites given the high winds that are expected.

► Garbage — Pick up will be suspended once snow operations begin.

► Homeless — The city will issue a Code Blue Emergency notice once temperatures drop below 32 degrees, which allows homeless people into any city shelter. New Yorkers should call 311 if they see any homeless people on the street during the cold and a crew will be dispatched to bring them to safety.