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Everything New Yorkers need to know about tomorrow's blizzard

Written by
Clayton Guse

This morning, the National Weather Service issued an updated briefing on Winter Storm Stella, and things aren't looking any better than they did yesterday. Less than 24 hours after a blizzard watch was issued for the New York area, a full-fledged blizzard warning has been issued with forecasts projecting up to two feet of snow. Winter isn't over officially yet, folks—we have one week left until the vernal equinox, and it's poised to be filled with slush, ice and a plenty of cabin fever.  

Here's everything we know about tonight's blizzard, and what you can do to prepare for it:

Expect at least 11 inches of snow, and up to two feet

Photograph: Courtesy National Weather Service

This blizzard is a classic nor'eastern. After a storm powdered the Midwest on Monday, a new one will quickly strengthen, creating pretty terrifying conditions in the process. It's not entirely clear whether the city will get hit by the worst of the storm, but the national weather service says to expect at least 11 inches. Whether we get 11 inches or two feet of snow, expect the outdoors to be miserable tomorrow. 

The blizzard will hit Tuesday morning at midnight

The NWS' blizzard warning is in effect from midnight on Tuesday morning until midnight on Wednesday morning, with an anticipated two to four inches of snow coming down per hour. The warning advises New Yorkers to stay off the roads, and use mass transit instead. Wind gusts are expected to reach 55 mph, and whiteout conditions will create visibilities of less than a quarter mile. The warning also notes that everyone should "be prepared to potentially lose power." In short, Tuesday is probably going to be terrible. Charge your phones, purchase as much non-perishable food as possible and batten down your proverbial hatches. 

Oh, there's also a coastal flood watch

The blizzard will bring 15 to 20-foot swells off the oceanic coasts, and four to eight-foot waves on the Long Island Sound, according to the briefing. This, coupled with the fact that high tide is sweeping in on Tuesday morning into the early afternoon, expects to cause flooding with minor to moderate impacts across Long Island and southeastern Connecticut.

Your Tuesday flight out of town is almost certainly cancelled  

If you booked a Tuesday flight out of town, you're going to want to come up with another plan. As of noon today, more than 1,700 Monday flights were cancelled nationwide, and another 3,000-plus Tuesday flights have been preemptively cancelled. The odds of escaping New York before the hoards of drunk zombies flow into the city on Friday are becoming slimmer by the minute. 

NYC Public Schools are officially closed Tuesday

For the children of New York, snow days are hard to come by. But with Tuesday's grim forecast, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City Public Schools will be closed. The snow day announcement came in the form of a gif on Twitter, which is a sentence this writer never expected to publish. 

The New York Public Library is closing every branch on Tuesday

If you were hoping to ride out tomorrow's storm in one of the city's public libraries, you're out of luck. Every branch in the system will be closed on Tuesday.

All above-ground subway service will be suspended beginning at 4am

If you're hoping to take a train that's not underground tomorrow, you're out of luck.

This post was updated on March 13 at 5:58pm. 

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