New York City is in for another wallop of a snowstorm on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, New Yorkers’ hopes for pleasant weather on the first day of spring were quickly dashed when forecasts projected that the fourth nor’easter in three weeks was headed to the city, bringing with it more than a foot of snow.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from 6am Wednesday to 6am Thursday, prompting the closure of public schools across the five boroughs. Snow began falling early in the morning and is expected to continue throughout the day. Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island and Westchester, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has done the same for the entirety of his state.
Transportation in and out of the city saw only small hiccups during the morning commute, but as the storm worsens, officials are urging New Yorkers to take caution.
Here’s what you need to know about Wednesday’s storm, which we’re billing as the Springpocalypse.
This nor’easter could set a record
New York City is expected to get hit with up to 18 inches of snow from Wednesday’s storm. It’s not unusual for New York City to see snow after the spring equinox, but it is quite rare for more than six inches to fall on the city after the date. Springtime's biggest blizzard on record in the city came on March 20 and 21 in 1958, pouring 11.8 inches of snow on Central Park. If the forecasts hold up, this week’s nor’easter will blow that record out of the water.
The snowfall will be at its worst during evening commutes
During a press conference on Long Island with Cuomo and other officials on Wednesday afternoon, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone noted that snow is expected to come down during evening rush hour at rates of up to three inches per hour, which is, well, nothing to scoff at. MTA chief operation officer Phil Eng echoed that sentiment, urging riders to leave early if possible to avoid what’s shaping up to be a truly hellish evening commute for New Yorkers.
The subway is not currently expecting any changes in service as a result of the storm, but Eng says that could change if more than 10 inches of snow ends up coming down. Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North train service are expected to see service changes this afternoon and evening (find more information on those here), and NJ Transit will be suspending all bus service beginning at 3pm.
Your flight is almost certainly cancelled
Cuomo urged all New Yorkers to plan for flight cancellations and check with their airline before heading to the airport. As of this morning, more than 600 flights were cancelled out of JFK Airport, with many more poised to come. AirTrain service at JFK may also be suspended and replaced by shuttle buses if the storm worsens. “Nearly all flight activity” has been suspended at LaGuardia Airport during the afternoon, and Newark Liberty International Airport is reporting that nearly three-fourths of its Wednesday flights have been cancelled.
So hunker down, New Yorkers. The spring we've come to know and love will arrive eventually—just not this week.