New York City was preparing for high winds and up to a foot of snow that could create dangerous conditions late Friday and into Saturday. And the city’s new mayor, Eric Adams, said he was ready for the challenge.
Mr. Adams donated a Sanitation Department hat and parka for a Friday afternoon news conference at which he warned drivers to stay off the roads. As trucks stood at the ready, he said that the city’s Covid testing and vaccine sites would be closed on Saturday, and outdoor dining would be suspended. But he quickly added that restaurants could stay open for indoor dining.
“One of the best ways to navigate the snow is to go inside and spend some money for our restaurants,” Mr. Adams said.
Christina Farrell, the acting commissioner of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, encouraged residents to quickly call in reports of any downed trees or heat and hot water outages, and to sign up for the city’s Notify NYC text-message service for weather-related updates. She noted that temperatures were expected to fall sharply, with wind chills near zero on Saturday night.
Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency in the southern part of the state, including New York City, effective at 8 pm Friday.
Long Island was expected to get more snow than the city, with accumulations of 10 to 16 inches possible, and a blizzard warning was issued for Suffolk County. The Long Island Rail Road said it would suspend service on all branches on Saturday. In a statement, Ms. Hochul warned that winds could exceed 50 miles an hour, and urged New Yorkers to avoid nonessential travel.
The state Transportation Department warned motorists not to exceed 45 miles an hour on the Long Island Expressway and state parkways on Long Island during the storm. Tow trucks were being positioned in Syosset, Riverhead, Medford, Hampton Bays, Central Islip, Melville and North Merrick to help clear crashes on state highways.
At the city news conference, Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said that more than 700 salt spreaders had already hit the streets by Friday afternoon, and about 1,800 would be deployed overall. Fine, powdery snow and high winds could create “white-out conditions” during the storm, particularly overnight, he warned.
Mr. Grayson said his department had applied a “liquid brine pre-treatment” to more than 700 miles of city roadways before the first snow started to fall, and had plenty of salt on hand.
“Every block in New York City is on a route, and we intend to complete all routes,” he said. The department’s work force was “mandatory staffing” with less than 10 percent of employees out, a lower rate of absences than earlier in the pandemic, he said.
Mr. Adams said he wanted to “be visible” and would visit areas of the city like Brownsville, East New York and Staten Island to monitor the storm.
“Generals don’t lead their troops from the rear,” he said.