New Yorkers are canceling Sunday Funday plans and stocking up for a weekend trapped indoors as forecasters warn Storm Jonas could bury New York in snow this weekend. Although the worst of the storm is expected to just miss New York and instead pummel Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the Big Apple is poised to receive a foot of snow or more.
So much snow is expected that the city has canceled its annual snow day celebration known as Winter Jam, which was slated to be held Saturday. Yes, that's right. More snow than even an event billed as "the ultimate snow day" can handle.
Winter Storm Jonas will take over the city late Saturday morning with snow and wind gusts of up to 52 mile per hour and could put New York under whiteout conditions, the National Weather Service reported. Snowfall estimates for New York have ranged from 6 to 14 inches, according to AccuWeather and the Weather Channel.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to avoid driving over the weekend in a press conference Thursday morning, but did not issue a travel ban or announce the city would shut down public transportation. "The bottom line is New Yorkers should be ready for a big storm this weekend," de Blasio said.
Forecasters have warned Jonas will likely significantly impact travel in New York and other metropolitan areas expected to be hard hit by the storm. New York City subway officials said forecasts were guiding preparations for the weekend's storm, but actual conditions would determine service changes, in a tweet published to the official Twitter account of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's subsidiary on Thursday.
A total of 1,650 snow plows are scheduled to be deployed after the first 2 inches of snow hits the city, according to the NYC Department of Sanitation. The department will begin spreading salt on roadways as early as Friday evening.
City authorities are also preparing for potential power outages caused by the storm with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo putting all relevant state agencies on alert ahead of the storm Thursday and asking residents to keep safety in mind:
We will be closely monitoring storm conditions throughout the weekend, and deploying resources and equipment as necessary. I encourage all New Yorkers in the region to plan ahead, avoid unnecessary travel, and above all – stay safe.
The New York City area was placed on blizzard watch by the National Weather Service Thursday, with more than 76 million Americans residing in areas currently under some type of weather advisory due to Jonas. These include blizzard warning, blizzard watch, winter storm watch, winter storm warning, winter weather advisory, freezing rain advisory, or ice storm warning.
If forecasts prove true, this weekend will bring the first major snowfall of this winter season to the Northeast. Storm Jonas is expected to head out of the area Sunday afternoon, just in time for New Yorkers to trudge into work Monday morning.