In case it was not apparent from the hole on the grocery-store shelf where the milk used to be, New York is about to get hit with a ridiculous amount of snow. From Monday afternoon to Tuesday night a massive storm is expected to dump up to 36 inches of snow on the Northeast, along with freezing rain and powerful winds. The National Weather Service is warning that this is a “CRIPPLING AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC BLIZZARD” and “LIFE-THREATENING CONDITIONS AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TRAVEL.” Basically, our friends at NOAA are experiencing the weather equivalent of Jessie Spano’s caffeine-pill freak-out, and it’s time to listen up.
The entire Northeast is under blizzard and winter storm warnings, with the worst conditions expected between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon.
The National Weather Service is predicting 20 to 30 inches of snow in New York, though we’re off to a slow start. While more conservative models predicted that we could get as few as two inches total, they had been proven wrong by Monday evening.
The snow began on Monday morning, and between two to four inches had accumulated by 4 p.m. The storm should intensify on Monday evening, with the heaviest snow and strongest winds coming between midnight and Tuesday afternoon. At the height of the storm, snow may fall at a rate of four inches per hour, and visibility may go down to zero. (Also, the Weather Channel is trying to make “Juno” happen.)
“I want everyone to understand that we are facing, most likely, one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Sunday afternoon press conference. “My message to all New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have seen before. Prepare to be safe. Take every precaution … Don’t underestimate this storm.”
New York City schools were open on Monday, but after-school activities were canceled, and Tuesday will be be a snow day. The mayor said people should stay out of city parks even after the storm dies down, as there’s a danger of heavy branches collapsing under the weight of the snow.
The Sanitation Department will deploy nearly 500 salt spreaders before the storm, and more than 2,000 plows will be available. The agency’s employees are scheduled to work 12-hour shifts, with 2,400 workers on each shift.
Governor Andrew Cuomo urged New Yorkers to stay home on Monday, or plan to leave in the middle of the day.
According to FlightAware, airlines have canceled more than 1,650 flights on Monday and 1,450 scheduled for Tuesday. New York–area airports were hit the hardest, with more than 1,000 flights canceled in Newark, more than 600 at JFK, and nearly 500 at LaGuardia.
Wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph could severely reduce visibility and bring down power lines.
Many people were frantically preparing for the storm on Sunday. Unfortunately, if you didn’t make it to the store, you may be forced to survive without sliced bread for three whole days.
Others simply got out of town, in the absolute best way possible.
As for you fools who haven’t already fled the city in a fur suit, tell your boss you’re working from home, or develop a highly contagious cold. For the next 72 hours you should be at home, basking in the warmth and safety of your Netflix queue, if at all possible.
This post has been updated throughout.