Tag Archives: blizzard

Queens commuters and business owners unhappy over shutdown of city’s mass transit during storm


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ERIC JANKIEWICZ

The city’s subways and buses are back on track after this week’s snowstorm, but frustration over the mass transit shutdown is lingering on like piles of dirty snow left over from the blizzard.

Many Queens residents are still furious over Gov. Cuomo’s  decision Monday to shut down the city’s subway and bus system for the first time ever for a snowstorm as a precaution against the possibility of having buses and trains loaded with passengers stuck in snow.

The storm was large and real as expected, but moved eastward, hitting Long Island a lot harder, Mayor Bill de Blasio pointed out. After suspending transit overnight, the MTA slowly resumed subway and bus service at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and was running on a Sunday schedule by noon, which is about 60 percent of weekday service.

“The last time the city was put on lockdown like that was during Sandy. And that made me think that this was going to be the blizzard of the century or something,” Elvir Beharous said. A resident of Bayside, Beharous commutes by bus from his neighborhood to Flushing during weekdays for work.

After announcing a state of emergency and travel ban on all state and local roads for 13 New York counties starting at 11 p.m. Monday for all non-emergency vehicles, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the ban in most of those counties, including all the five boroughs, as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

But Beharous couldn’t make it to work on Tuesday since buses were running erratically. As a wage worker he couldn’t afford to take the loss of a day’s work.

“So I just shoveled for people all day in Bayside to make up the money,” he said on Wednesday as he waited for the now-running Q12 to take him back home from work in Flushing.

Full MTA weekday service was back on Wednesday, allowing Beharous to go back to work, even if he did have a cold from being out all day in the snow on Tuesday.

Wing Hangsong, a GED-student, didn’t mind having the day off of school, but that evening he couldn’t go to his job as a bus boy at a restaurant in downtown Flushing with buses down.

“It was necessary to close down the roads, but they could’ve at least given us some kind of emergency service,” said Hangsong, who lives on the southern edge of Flushing near Kissena Park.

Commuters weren’t the only ones affected by the shutdown.

The storm, known as Juno, took a chunk out of businesses in the downtown Flushing area, according to Dian Yu, head of the area’s business improvement district.

“It definitely wasn’t business as usual on Tuesday,” he said. “There were less people shopping in the area and most businesses took a loss.”

Thankfully, Yu said, celebrations for the Chinese New Year are still going strong and he is confident that the next two weeks of increased holiday-related business will make up for the loss.

“In a way, we’re very  lucky that this happened now,” Yu said.

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Bay Terrace blaze during snowstorm caused by unattended candle: FDNY


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video via Vine/FDNY

A burning candle left unattended in a Bay Terrace home during Monday’s snowstorm sparked a fire that ripped through the second floor of the building, fire officials said.

Video footage posted by the FDNY shows the flames shooting from the second floor and roof of 15-62 Waters Edge Dr.


The fire started about 8:30 p.m. Monday at the private residence amid a blizzard warning and as snow was falling. Windy conditions made it more difficult for firefighters to battle the two-alarm blaze, according to police. It took 105 firefighters until about 10:15 p.m. to control the flames.

No injuries were reported.

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PHOTOS: January 2015 snowstorm


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by The Queens  Courier Staff

The season’s first snowstorm may not have been the record-breaker that some were predicting, but it still covered the borough in an impressive amount of the white stuff.

Take a look at our gallery of photos taken during the storm dubbed Juno, including pics of plows clearing the streets, dogs braving the blizzard and pedestrians fighting the windy conditions.

IMG_9503

Photo by Bradley Hawks

If you want The Queens Courier to include your storm photos in our gallery, let us know by tweeting them to @queenscourier, posting them on our Facebook page or emailing them to editorial@queenscourier.com (subject: snow pics).


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Queens only gets about a foot of snow after massive blizzard predicted for city


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Updated 3:22 p.m. 

Public transit service has resumed and streets are open to normal traffic again after a storm that was expected to bring a substantial amount of snow to New York City turned out to be far less impactful than predicted.

“Put simply, we got about half as much as what a lot of the projections had been, or even under half as much.” Mayor de Blasio said at a storm briefing Tuesday.

The storm was as large and real as expected, but moved eastward, hitting Long Island a lot harder, the mayor emphasized.

“Things turned out a lot better than we feared, but we were prepared,” he said, defending the city’s snow preparations, including shutting down mass transit and banning non-emergency vehicles from local streets.

Snow totals for the city were forecast as high as 30 inches at times, but as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, totals in Queens reached a foot at the most, according to local weather reports.

After announcing a state of emergency and travel ban on all state and local roads for 13 New York counties starting at 11 p.m. Monday for all non-emergency vehicles, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the ban in most of those counties, including all the five boroughs, as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

While passable, the roads are not clear, Cuomo stressed during a storm briefing that morning.

“If [travel is] nonessential we wouldn’t recommend it,” he said.

The vehicle ban included New York City streets, and De Blasio also cautioned motorists to be careful, especially in eastern Queens, which experienced the brunt of the storm.

The storm, known as Juno, also prompted the MTA to shut down its entire subway, bus and commuter rail systems at 11 p.m. Monday. It was reportedly the first time the transit agency has suspended service for snow.

After suspending transit overnight, the MTA resumed subway and bus service at 9 a.m. and was running on a Sunday schedule by noon, which is about 60 percent of weekday service. The Long Island Rail Road started operating on its electrified branches around 12 p.m. with a weekend schedule. 

Full MTA weekday service is expected to be back on Wednesday.

Life in the city also started to return to normal Tuesday morning when its parks reopened after closing the previous evening because of fears over falling branches.

The city’s public schools, however, were closed on Tuesday. They will be open on Wednesday.

Alternate side parking is suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday to help with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect. Garbage and recycling collection is also suspended on those days, but it’s not clear yet when it will resume.

The Department of Sanitation continued to clear the city’s 6,000 miles of streets as the storm headed out Tuesday, with personnel on 12-hour shifts and 2,300 pieces of equipment deployed.

To track the progress of snow clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

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‘Potentially historic’ blizzard targets NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated Monday, Jan. 26, 6:55 p.m.

A crippling storm that could be one of the largest blizzards New York City has ever experienced is shutting down public transit, closing schools and restricting travel on roadways as it’s expected to bring two feet or more of snow.

After declaring a state of emergency for all New York counties south of Sullivan, including the entire five boroughs, earlier in the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a travel ban on all state and local roads in those areas starting at 11 p.m. Monday. Only authorized emergency vehicles will be allowed on those roads, and a violation of the travel ban is punishable as a misdemeanor that includes fines of up to $300.

“This blizzard is forecasted to be one of the worst this region has seen, and we must put safety first and take all necessary precautions,” Cuomo said. “Commuters and drivers need to get home as quickly as possible before the storm completely cripples our transit networks and roads.”

The governor also said the MTA and Port Authority public transit systems will be suspending service beginning at 11 p.m. Monday.

Only 1 to 3 inches was forecasted for the day Monday, but heavier snowfall is expected Monday evening and during the day Tuesday before tapering off that night, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). A blizzard waring is in effect until midnight Tuesday, with snowfall estimates at 20 to 30 inches and gusts as high as 50 mph, which will likely create whiteout conditions.

There is also a coastal flood warning for northern Queens from 3 to 7 a.m. Tuesday, and a warning for southern Queens from midnight through 5 a.m. Tuesday

‘“You can’t underestimate this storm,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a weather briefing Monday afternoon.

“People cannot be caught off guard,” he added.

De Blasio urged New Yorkers to remain inside if possible, telling them to stay off the roads and even to keep walking to a minimum because of slippery conditions.

The mayor also asked people to stay out of city parks because of the potential for falling branches, saying they will be closed as of 6 p.m.

The city’s public schools remained open on Monday, but will be closed on Tuesday. All Monday school trips, after-school programs, PSAL and evening adult education programs were also canceled.

Ahead of the storm, the Department of Sanitation issued a “snow alert” starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. According to the mayor, there will be 2,400 workers per shift on 12-hour shifts and 2,300 vehicles with snow-plowing ability, plus 250 more pieces of equipment coming from other agencies this evening.

Alternate side parking will be suspended Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to help with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect. Garbage and recycling collection will also be suspended.

By the time the sun returns on Wednesday, the storm could be one for the record books, according to the NWS, which called the blizzard “potentially historic.”

De Blasio was confident at a Sunday storm briefing that the snowfall would be among one of the largest to hit the city, citing records that date back to the late 19th century.

“This literally could be one of the top two or three largest storms in the history of this city,” he said.

The current record holder is a February 2006 storm, when 26.9 inches of snow fell in Central Park over a 16-hour period.

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Major snowfall, freezing temps target NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 11:40 p.m.

New York City was set for its second significant storm of the month Tuesday, with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures predicted.

This storm is on pace to be larger than the previous storm, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning from 12 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The snow, however, was already falling by the morning commute.

By the evening, the storm had intensified and 10 to 14 inches of flakes are now expected in the city, the mayor said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday afternoon declared a State of Emergency for New York City as well as Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland counties.

De Blasio said he wanted  “New Yorkers to stay in to the maximum amount possible this evening” so the sanitation department can do its work.

“The safest thing to do tonight is stay home,” he said.

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) issued a snow alert, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

More than 2,000 sanitation are out now, working 12-hour shifts, and 450 salt spreaders have already been deployed, the mayor said. There are also more than 1,700 vehicles with snow plows that are being deployed as the snow accumulates.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

Alternate side parking is suspended Wednesday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect

Trash and recycling pickups are also suspended for Wednesday.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is warning motorists to drive slowly, monitor weather and traffic, use major streets or highways, and have the name and number of at least one local towing service. A hazardous travel advisory is in effect for Wednesday.

For anyone traveling on public transportation, the MTA has plans in place to deal with any adverse weather conditions.

After express subway service was “curtailed” after the evening rush hour Tuesday, the MTA said service should be near normal Wednesday, with express service restored during the morning rush hour. Buses will operate at 80 to 90 percent of normal levels depending on customer demand, and service will be subject to delays based on local road conditions.

Fastrack work on the E,F,M,R Queens Blvd. Line has been canceled for the remainder of the week to free up personnel for snow fighting and cleanup after the storm.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) reduced service after 8 p.m. Tuesday on a branch-by-branch basis. After 8 p.m., service was also reduced on the Metro-North.

On Wednesday, Metro-North will operate 80 to 85 percent of its normal weekday service, with some trains combined and some delays possible based on the condition of track and power systems. The LIRR will operate on a weekend schedule.

For more information, or to see any additional MTA service changes, click here.

The snow is not expected to taper off until 3 or 4 a.m. Wednesday.

The city’s public schools, however, will be open tomorrow, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced late Tuesday night.

The mayor cautioned New Yorkers about the bitter cold that is accompanying the snow. Temperatures will be very low and wind chills will make it worse, he said.

The low Tuesday night will be around 19,  but with gusts as high as 33 mph, wind chill values will be low as -11, according to NWS.

Though the snow will end by Wednesday, highs will remain in the high teens and lows in the single digits and teens for the next few days, with wind chill factors below zero.

 

Winter Storm Hercules photos


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Check out our photo gallery showing the aftermath of the January 2014 snow storm in Queens.

If you want The Queens Courier to include your blizzard photos in our gallery, let us know by tweeting them to @queenscourier or by posting them on our Facebook page.

 

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Hercules flexing his muscles in first storm of 2014


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated Friday, January 3, 7:05 a.m.

The year is starting out with a shot of nasty weather that is predicted to bring near-blizzard conditions to the city.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a statewide state of emergency Thursday afternoon to prepare officials for winter storm Hercules, which is forecasted to bring five to nine inches of snow to the city.

“To ensure an effective and rapid response to this winter storm, I am declaring a statewide state of emergency, so resources can get to communities where they are needed as quickly as possible,” he said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning until 1 p.m. Friday.

Cuomo also announced the Long Island Expressway will be closed from midnight to 8 a.m. on Friday from the Queens/Nassau County border and east. The Northern State Parkway and all MTA bridges and tunnels will remain open.

“As this winter storm unfolds, bringing heavy snow and high winds to many parts of the state, I strongly urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution, avoid travel and stay indoors,” he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized the “forecast could change at any moment.”

“That’s why it’s so important for everyone to pay close attention to updates in the coming hours,” he said at his administration’s first press conference Thursday evening.

Alternate side parking has been suspended Friday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

All express subway service will run local for the start of the morning rush hour, until all stored trains are moved from the express tracks. Riders should expect delays on city buses due to the weather. The Long Island Rail Road is operating on a weekend schedule effective 12:01 a.m. Friday. The Metro-North is running on a reduced schedule after 8  p.m. Thursday, and a Saturday schedule on Friday. To see any additional MTA service changes, click here.

The weather is also affecting air travel. All flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) were suspended as of about 6:12 a.m., but the airport will remain open. Flights could resume in a couple of hours, said the FAA. Thousands of flights have reportedly been canceled across the country Friday, and travelers are urged to check with their carriers before heading to the airport.

City officials have no plan to close specific streets yet, but will monitor that need as the storm progresses, de Blasio said.

The City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has put 2,300 workers on 12-hour shifts, and 1,700 trucks with snow plows will be deployed once two inches of snow hit the ground. To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

Kew Gardens and South Ozone Park had accumulated more than 5 inches of snow as of 4 a.m., according to NWS.

Senior centers throughout the city will be closed through Friday, and de Blasio urged city residents to keep a close eye on the homeless population.

Joe Bruno, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) commissioner, said the NYPD, FDNY, EMS and other emergency officials will “work around the clock until this is over.”

OEM has issued a hazardous travel advisory for Friday, and is warning motorists to drive slowly, monitor weather and traffic, use major streets or highways, and have the name and number of at least one local towing service.

Temperatures will be blustery, with a high Friday of 17 and low around 8. Wind chill, however, could make the weather feel as cold as 10 below zero, de Blasio said.

Borough residents hit grocery stores and gas stations Thursday afternoon to prepare for the impending storm. People were piling into the Waldbaums on Francis Lewis Boulevard just “picking up extras,” but said “the crazies” would be sure to clear the shelves in the hours to come.

“I’m getting extras just in case,” said Anita Oberwiler, who anticipated frantic shoppers to come rushing through as the afternoon pressed on.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Cloudy. Light snow likely this afternoon. Temps nearly steady around 30. Winds NE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 40%. Thursday night: Periods of snow. Low 16. Winds NNE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 90%. 5 to 8 inches of snow expected.

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City holds Snow Day at Juniper Park


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

When there is heavy snowfall the New York City Parks Department sometimes throws a special “Snow Day” in parks across the city with organized activities, such as supervised safe sledding, snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music and complimentary hot chocolate.

After the blizzard that hit on Friday, February 8, known as Nemo, there was a “Snow Day” at a park in each borough, including Juniper Park in Queens, on Saturday afternoon.

Click here to see photos from the Juniper Park Snow Day.

Update on Nemo cleanup


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

The  city is swiftly bouncing back after the blizzard dubbed “Nemo” swept through the Northeast last night.

The “Big 4″ lines – Babylon, Huntington, Port Washington and Ronkonkoma – of the LIRR are running on every two hours, the MTA announced. Service on other branches will be restored when rail travel is safe again.

While snow falls dwindled by noon today, the Office of Emergency Management advises that winds can still pick up and cause snow drifts throughout the area.

Snow plows have been clearing and salting streets. To see when the last time your street was plowed, click here.

Queens got comparatively less snow than other parts of Long Island, such as Suffolk County. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he has requested Mayor Michael Bloomberg send any additional snow plows to help ease the two-plus feet of snow in Suffolk. The plows won’t go out until after the city is completely plowed, Cuomo said.

Drivers should stay off the road today, the governor advised, as first responders are still trying to clean up from the storm.

“I’ve been all over the metropolitan area and it is dangerous to be on the roads,” Cuomo said. “This is not the day to be out and about.”

Both LaGuardia and JFK International airports are open, according to the Port Authority. Travelers should check with their airlines to check the status of their flight.

Aerial shot of Queens covered in snow after storm


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo @hglaser1 (Howard Glaser)

This photo was tweeted Saturday morning by Howard Glaser, director of operations for the State of New York and advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and shows an aerial view of Queens after it was blanketed in snow following the February 2013 blizzard.

 

 

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PHOTOS: February 2013 Blizzard


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Check out our photo gallery showing the snowy aftermath of the February 2013 blizzard in Queens.

If you want The Queens Courier to include your blizzard photos in our gallery, let us know by tweeting them to @queenscourier or by posting them on our Facebook page.

 

 

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NASA photo shows power of winter storm


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NASA

NASA chose this satellite image of Friday’s blizzard as its photo of the day.

According to NASA, the winter storm is the result of  two low pressure systems merging over the East Coast:

“The satellite image, captured at 9:01 a.m. EST, shows clouds associated with the western frontal system stretching from Canada through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, into the Gulf of Mexico. The comma-shaped low pressure system located over the Atlantic, east of Virginia, is forecast to merge with the front and create a powerful nor’easter. The National Weather Service expects the merged storm to move northeast and drop between two to three feet of snow in parts of New England.”

 

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Queens residents pick up last-minute necessities as heaviest snow approaches


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

As blizzard warnings have everyone getting ready to hunker down, Queens residents, and visitors, are flocking to the stores for any last-minute supplies.

Despite a relatively low volume of shoppers at the Walbaums in Bay Terrace, carts were packed to the gills with any weekend needs including water and non-perishables.

Monica Bell, up from Georgia to visit her children, said she was picking “the normal necessities” along with any other snacks she and her kids may want.

Bell also said she’s focused on getting non-perishable foods “so if the power goes out, I don’t need to refrigerate it.”

Allison Wieczorek, of Bayside, has most of the supplies she needs, but was just heading in to get some last minute needs. Her son had not been feeling well, and she said she was just getting anything incase she can’t make it to the doctor.

Along with these needs, she was also picking up supplies for Valentine’s Day.

 

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