In case you didn't receive that scary alert on your cell phone, the Northeast is expecting a
blizzard adorably named winter storm on Friday that might be one of the biggest snowstorms since the Civil War. Despite earlier reports, New York City probably won't be hit with an unprecedented 38 inches of snow, but the current prediction of one to two feet of snow is still enough to cause major travel disruptions and frantic storm preparation. In addition to the usual runs on bread, milk, and of course, booze, there were reports of gas lines across the tri-state area on Thursday night. Apparently everyone has learned their lesson from Hurricane Sandy, and they're not going to be the fool whose car is buried in a snow bank with only half a tank of gas.
The National Weather Service predicts that light snow showers will start overnight in New York City, then switch to heavier rain and snow in the afternoon, with an accumulation of one to two inches. The worst of the storm will hit just in time for rush hour, and on Friday night we'll see heavy winds and snow with another 7 to 11 inches of accumulation possible. The storm is expected to taper off on Saturday morning.
Mayor Bloomberg issued a severe weather advisory, warning people to stay off the roads and stock up on supplies and medicine. New York City schools will remain open and there are no plans to shut down subway service, though the MTA will continue to review that decision throughout the day. Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road will run extra trains in the afternoon to get commuters out of the city before the worst of the storm hits. Amtrak has reduced service in the area and more than 3,000 flights have been canceled.
On Thursday, Mayor Bloomberg said at a press conference that city agencies are already doing everything they can to prepare for the storm (so no one should worry about this happening again). As he put it, “The good news, I guess if you like snow, is that we’re going to have snow."
Here are a few of the latest snow accumulation maps, for those who'd like to place bets on just how much good news we're talking about.