New York City battened the hatches early on Monday, March 13, with the mayor closing public schools and the MTA nixing all above-ground subway trains, all in preparation for Winter Storm Stella.
The wind-heavy storm — now labeled a nor’easter — could be historic for the month of March, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who issued a state of emergency statewide as of midnight Tuesday that is still in effect. It is unclear at this time just how much snow Kings County has gotten, but nearly six inches had been reported near La Guardia Airport in Queens by 8 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Snowfall totals were originally expected to be at least 20 inches and up to two feet in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Capital Region, with 10-20 inches for most of the rest of the state, though later forecasts anticipated closer to 12 to 18 inches of snowfall for the city. The total prediction has since dropped to under 10, but officials warn that wind gusts could reach upwards of 50 miles per hour.
A press release sent out by Mayor Bill de Blasio late Monday night warned of “strong, potentially damaging winds and widespread minor to locally moderate flooding” along vulnerable coastlines and shore roads.
“This will be a dangerous storm with heavy snowfall and strong winds,” said de Blasio. “We are urging all New Yorkers to avoid unnecessary travel on Tuesday – if you can, stay home. If you have to travel, use mass transit and be prepared for delays.”
MTA subway service above ground was suspended at 4 a.m. Tuesday and remains closed at this time. Alternate Side Parking is suspended Tuesday and Wednesday, with parking meters remaining in effect throughout the city. Garbage collections are also suspended to facilitate snow removal.
The mayor made the decision to close public schools and after school programs early Monday afternoon.
“It was a very wise decision made early by the mayor to close the schools,” said President of Community Education Council 20 Laurie Windsor. “Even if the predicted amount of snow doesn’t come to pass, it is still dangerous walking, driving, traveling in this slippery and windy weather. Much better to err on the side of caution. Kudos for a well-made decision.”
Some weather apps, at this time, are predicting not snow, but simply “ice,” this afternoon for parts of southern Brooklyn.
It is not the first time, however, the city has seen a snowstorm leading up to Saint Patrick’s Day. On March 12, 1888, Central Park clocked in 16 and a half inches of white.