Did you really think that last Friday’s nor’easter was the last storm of the season? Did you foolishly galavant across the city over the weekend, celebrating what you believed was the end of a truly miserable winter?
Well, it’s time get ready for a cold, nasty wake-up call.
On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for New York City, and by Tuesday morning the forecast only got worse. The service updated the notice to a winter storm warning, which is in effect from 10pm Tuesday night until 4am Thursday morning. On the high end, the NWS is projecting that the city could see up to 12 inches of snow, with snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour possible.
If the weather arrives as forecasted, both city and state officials will have their hands full. Like last Friday, those who have a flight booked out of the area on Wednesday can expect delays and cancellations. The MTA will also be impacted, with service on the Metro-North commuter lines getting hit the worst. The authority’s chairman Joe Lhota said that it’s possible that express subway service may be cut Wednesday afternoon and warned for weather-related delays.
“I joked that I've been through five 100-year storms in two years,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a teleconference on Tuesday. “This is the new normal, and they have to be ready for it.”
The system is set to hit the region as an estimated 80,000 people in New York State are still without power as a result of last week’s storm. The slow recovery has caused Cuomo and New York State Department of Public Service commissioner John Rhodes to launch an investigation into the way that ConEd responded to and deployed staff to fix power lines that were downed or damaged by last week’s weather.
Of course, prognosticators could be blowing Wednesday’s storm way out of proportion. The low end forecast from the NWS puts the total snowfall accumulation at less than an inch, and city officials on Tuesday projected that four to seven inches of snow will accumulate in the city on Wednesday, with the Bronx seeing up to 10 inches.
Last March, a flubbed blizzard left New Yorkers poking fun at government officials for shutting down subway service for a storm that only yielded a few inches of snowfall. Wednesday could bring a similar situation, but rest assured that local officials are in full mobilization mode in case New York does get dumped on.