Tag Archives: National Weather Service

NYC recovers from another storm; more snow in forecast


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Victor G. Mimoni

Updated 6:50 p.m.

The borough was once again buried in almost a foot of snow after the sixth storm of the season struck the city Thursday, and even more flakes could fall this weekend.

Snowfall totals around Queens varied, but Bayside reported as much as 11.8 inches, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

For the second day in a row, residents faced a less-than-perfect morning commute with a hazardous travel advisory still in effect through Friday morning.

The MTA said service should be close to normal on subways, buses and Long Island Rail Road for the evening commute.

The situation for commuters Friday was much better than yesterday morning when heavy snow coated the roads.

Despite those dangerous conditions the city’s public schools were open Thursday.

Parents, students, teachers and even famed weatherman Al Roker blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to keep the schools open.

De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, however, defended the move.

“Based on our knowledge, we were convinced kids could get to schools this morning,” de Blasio said Thursday. “So many families depend on their schools as a place for their kids to be during the day.”

The total attendance at city schools was only 44.65 percent yesterday, according to a preliminary report from the Department of Education (DOE) released Thursday afternoon.

Public schools were again open Friday and all field trips, after-school programs and PSAL activities are operating normally, the DOE said.

“We understand that weather conditions may be challenging for families. As always, parents should exercise their own judgment with regard to their children. Safety is a top priority for the Department, and we make these decisions only after careful consideration. We want to thank parents, students, and educators for your cooperation during this very difficult winter,” Fariña said.

Alternate side parking regulations, and garbage and recycling pick-up are suspended through Saturday.

The Department of Sanitation will likely be spending the weekend clearing snow off the streets.

The city agency has issued a “snow alert” starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

About 2 to 4 inches of snow could fall during the day tomorrow, starting in the early morning, according to NWS.

 

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NYC public schools will be open Thursday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has announced the Department of Education will keep all public schools open Thursday, as the Big Apple expects another round of snow.

All school field trips will be canceled Fariña said Wednesday night. Families with busing questions are asked to call 718-392-8855.

As always, parents should exercise their own judgment with regard to their children, the schools chancellor said in a statement. “Safety is a top priority for the department.”

Public schools have only closed once on Jan. 3, during the year’s first major snowstorm. They were kept open during the Jan. 22 storm which left the city with almost a foot of snow. Schools were also kept opened during a Feb. 5 storm that brought icy conditions.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted 8 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow through Friday morning. A Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from midnight tonight until 6 a.m. Friday.

Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to prepare for the impending Nor’easter winter storm.

Snow will develop around 3 a.m., and continue throughout the day before tapering off about 24 hours later. During the day, with temperatures hovering around the mid-30s, there will be a mixture of snow, sleet and rain, according to the NWS.

 

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Snow again: Winter storm to strike city Thursday


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Updated 6:10 p.m.

Get ready for some more snow.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted 8 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow through Friday morning. A Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from midnight tonight until 6 a.m. Friday.

Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to prepare for the impending Nor’easter winter storm.

This one will bring a mix of snow, sleet and rain as well as windy conditions, according to the NWS.

““I have again directed state agencies to prepare and coordinate resources for the Nor’easter that is forecasted for late tonight and into Thursday,” Cuomo said. “As we have done in previous storms this season, the State is directing necessary resources to the areas in greatest need, and we will be flexible in our ability to redirect equipment and personnel as the storm reaches the state.”

Snow will develop around 3 a.m., and continue throughout the day before tapering off about 24 hours later. During the day, with temperatures hovering around the mid-30s, there will be a mixture of snow, sleet and rain, according to the NWS. Winds will be 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph during the storm.

Subways plan to operate on normal weekday schedule during the morning rush hour. The LIRR is developing service plans for the coming storm, and may offer extra afternoon service. To track developments, click here.

Buses may reduce service by up to 20 percent if conditions warrant. Alternate side parking regulations are suspended through Saturday, but meters remain in effect.

In preparation of the inclement weather, the city’s Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert,” starting at 1 a.m. Thursday. It said its plows and spreader will be ready, but trash and recycling pickups will need to be delayed during its snow operations.

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

 

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Another round of snow, plus sleet, freezing rain target city


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Updated 3:35 p.m.

For the second time this week, the city is experiencing a bout of nasty winter weather.

After a Monday storm dropped eight inches of flakes in the borough, a system that hit late Tuesday night brought snow as well as sleet and freezing rain.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Wednesday morning, saying that localities in New York City and on Long Island have reported salt shortages. He said that 3,500 tons of the state’s supply of salt will be sent to those communities.

To expedite the salt deliveries, Cuomo said the DOT has waived federal restrictions on hours for salt truck drivers, and the MTA has waived weight restrictions on bridges.

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, however, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city has the salt resources for this storm and for the next storm as it is projected.

De Blasio said the city is experiencing a blood shortage and encouraged New Yorkers to donate by calling 800-933-Blood or visiting www.nybloodcenter.org. He said he is planning to donate blood.

At the press conference he applauded city agencies’ response to the recent winter storms as well as New Yorkers’ toughness.

“This is a city that is no stranger to adversary,” the mayor said.

“Nobody likes days like today, but nobody handles days like today better than New Yorkers,” he added.

winter storm warning is in effect through 6 p.m. Wednesday, with three to five inches of snow predicted as well as about one quarter of an inch of ice, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The snow, which started Tuesday night, changed over to a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain by early Wednesday morning and eventually to just freezing rain. NWS reported 4 inches of snow in Central Park by 5 a.m. and 2.4 inches at LaGuardia Airport by 7:00 a.m.

The precipitation should taper off by tonight. Highs Wednesday will be in the low 30s.

Alternate side parking is suspended on Wednesday and Thursday to facilitate snow removal, but meters will still be in effect. Gar

The Department of Sanitation issued a ‘snow alert’ starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed.

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

Garbage and recycling collection is canceled Wednesday, but should begin tomorrow.

A “hazardous travel advisory” is also in effect for the area Wednesday, the New York City Office of Emergency Management said.

At 8 a.m. Cuomo announced a ban on both commercial and passenger vehicles on Interstate 84 between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders, but lifted it by 2:20 p.m.

The mayor warned urged city residents Wednesday to use mass transit when possible and to leave extra travel time.

During the evening rush hour, the city’s subways and Long Island Rail Road will operate on normal schedules, the MTA said.

Buses will run at 85 to 90 percent capacity, but some detours, delays and suspensions are possible on a route-by-route basis.

As the rush hour winds down, subways will be stored underground on express tracks, and, as a result, express service on portions of some lines will be curtailed after rush hour, the MTA said. Subway customers should anticipate some weather-related delays

Fastrack maintenance has been canceled on the A and C lines in Brooklyn for the rest of the week.

The Metro-North Railroad will operate 75 percent of its normal evening rush hour schedule across all lines, and some local and express trains will be combined and will make additional stops, the MTA said.

Beginning at 9 p.m., Metro-North will go to hourly service for the remainder of the day.  On Thursday morning, it should operate at normal AM peak service.

The storm is causing few disruptions for the city’s public schools. Chancellor Carmen Farina announced early this morning that schools are open Wednesday. All field trips are canceled, but after-school activities and PSAL activties are continuing as scheduled.

Farina said, as of about 11:30 a.m., schools were reporting 60 percent attendance.

“We knew today that we could operate them safely and effectively,” de Blasio said about the decision to keep schools open.

But students could get another chance for a snow day on Monday. More snow is expected on Sunday.

Despite the constant storms, however, not everyone is tired of the weather.

“This is how winter weather is supposed to be. For me, it beats the heat and humidity, Jackson Heights resident Kimberly Rene Oser said.

I love this year’s weather. It’s winter, said Monika Slominska. “The only minus is, I have no driveway, therefore it’s difficult to find a parking spot with all the snow around.

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More snow on its way to NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated 9:45 p.m.

Another storm is set to strike the area late Tuesday night into Wednesday, just as the city is recovering from a significant snowfall that dropped around eight inches on the city Monday.

“The snowstorm situation is really getting a little too common,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at press conference Tuesday morning, asserting that the city is prepared for another storm.

He said this storm’s mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain and milder temperatures will help mitigate its impact.

But “be ready for a difficult morning commute,” he warned, and urged New Yorkers to use mass transit when possible.

A  “hazardous travel advisory” is in effect for the area Wednesday, the New York City Office of Emergency Management said.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from midnight through 6 p.m. Wednesday, with two to four inches of snow predicted as well as about one third of an inch of ice.

The snow will start after midnight, then change to a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain around daybreak, according to NWS. The precipitation should taper off the early evening commute. Highs Wednesday will be in the low 30s.

Alternate side parking remained suspended Tuesday and will be suspended again on Wednesday to facilitate snow removal, but meters will still be in effect.

The Department of Sanitation has issued a ‘snow alert’ for Tuesday, starting at 10 p.m.  and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed.

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

The MTA said is preparing for the possibility of ice building up during the Wednesday morning rush hour, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Customers, however, should prepare for potential delays or service suspensions, and are urged to monitor service status on the MTA’s website before leaving their homes Wednesday morning.

The city’s subway cars will be moved and stored underground on express tracks overnight, which will affect express service on portions of certain lines into Wednesday morning. Bus service will run at 85 to 90 percent capacity and some suspensions are possible on a route-by-route basis.

The MTA has canceled Fastrack maintenance on the A and C lines in Brooklyn for the rest of the week.

The Long Island Rail Road expects to operate on a regular weekday schedule throughout Wednesday.

Metro-North plans to reduce morning rush hour service by 18 percent to accommodate heavy snowfall predicted for Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley, and will combine 27 of the usual 154 morning rush hour trains.

 

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Snow slams city again; more in forecast


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated Monday, Feb. 3 1:45 p.m.

ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Another round of snow is impacting New York City, just as Staten Island Chuck predicted six more weeks of winter.

“Things are going to be messy today,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Monday afternoon.

“Snow is coming down faster than we can plow it.”

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) issued a “snow alert” starting at 1 a.m. Monday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. Alternate side parking has been suspended Monday and Tuesday to facilitate with winter weather preparations, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The mayor also said that the timing of the storm could also make it difficult for snow clearing, and urged New Yorkers to stay off the road after rush hour so streets could be clear for the morning commute.

After receiving criticism about plow response during the  Jan. 21 snowstorm, de Blasio said a review was done and changes were made.

One change, he said, was to cancel garbage and recycling pick-up earlier, which was decided Sunday afternoon.

NYPD cameras have also been accessed by the DSNY to better target snow clearing operations.

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

The New York City Office of Emergency Management has also issued a “Hazardous Travel Advisory” for Monday.

A winter storm warning has been issued citywide from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. by the National Weather Service (NWS) and 4 to 8 inches of snow are expected Monday with temperatures in the 30s. Visibility is expected to be low.

The snowfall will taper off by about 7 p.m., but the bad weather won’t end there.

The NWS has issued a winter storm watch for late Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon, with 2 to 4 inches of snow along with sleet predicted. More snow could also hit the area over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Monday’s snowfall was already causing delays of several hours at local airports by the morning as well as delays on local bus routes.

The MTA has canceled Fastrack maintenance on the A and C lines in Brooklyn. During mid-day hours, subway trains will be stored underground on express tracks to for protection, impacting express service on portions of certain lines, the transit agency said. Express service, however, will be restored for the p.m. peak period. MTA bridges and tunnels are open.

Though the city’s public schools were open Monday, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced that due to the weather, after-school programs and PSAL activities are canceled.

“Since snow is expected to make roads slippery, we urge New Yorkers to exercise caution when traveling to and from schools. Safety is a top priority for the Department,” she said.

 

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Winter storm warning issued for NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 4:20 p.m.

Colder temperatures and potentially heavy snow are expected to hit the New York City area Tuesday and could make for a messy commute home.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning from 12 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The New York City Department of Sanitation is preparing to take on any potential bad weather and has issued a snow alert, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Alternate side parking will be suspended tomorrow to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

Six to 10 inches of snow are expected in the city, according to NWS. The flakes will start falling around 1 p.m. tomorrow and continue overnight.

The high will be near 23, with winds 11 to 15 mph, according to NWS. Temperatures at night will be chilly with a low around 10 and wind chill values as low as -4. Winds Tuesday night will be  18 to 25 mph.

Though the snow will end by Wednesday, highs will remain around the high teens to low to mid-twenties and lows in the teens for the next few days.

 

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Tips for extreme cold during record-breaking temps


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

New Yorkers were bundling up as best they could to deal with a record-breaking day of bitter temperatures.

At 4 degrees, Central Park broke a 118-year record low for Jan. 7, according to NBC New York.

The National Weather Service (NWS) also reported record low temperatures at JFK airport (6 degrees), LaGuardia Airport (4 degrees), Newark Airport (3 degrees) and Islip, Long Island (7 degrees) for this date.

The wind is making the cold temperatures feel even colder. As of 9:00 a.m., wind chills were -17 in Central Park, -14 at JFK, -16 at LaGuardia, -16 at Newark and -14 in Islip, according to NWS.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is advising all New Yorkers that “prolonged exposure to extreme cold weather can be deadly.”

Populations, such as seniors and infants, are most at risk during extreme weather events, so it’s important to check on friends, family and neighbors if you think they need help getting to a warm place, said the OEM. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Health is encouraging everyone to stay inside as much as possible.

“I urge all New Yorkers to find a warm place to stay to avoid hypothermia, frostbite, and other life-threatening health conditions,” said Mayor de Blasio. “City agencies have taken a number of steps to prepare for this cold weather, including alerting vulnerable populations and doubling outreach efforts to homeless individuals. As we enter this cold period it’s also important to make sure you are heating your home safely. Never use gas stoves or portable gas heaters indoors to heat your home, as those can lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.”

City agencies have been working ahead of the freezing weather to prepare New Yorkers for the cold:

Office of Emergency Management

  • Activated the City’s Winter Weather Emergency Plan in response to the forecasted low temperatures and wind chills.
  • Convened Winter Weather Call with more than 35 city agencies to coordinate city actions.
  • Activated the Advance Warning System (AWS) to alert vulnerable New Yorkers about the impending cold weather.

Department for the Aging

  • All senior centers will only be open Tuesday for lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Senior centers will close after lunch is served.
  • Case management agencies will make calls to check on homebound seniors and high-risk clients during the cold weather.

Department of Buildings

  • Issued a weather advisory alerting property owners and contractors to secure construction sites in advance of inclement weather and high winds. The advisory remains in effect for Monday, January 6 through Tuesday, January 7.
  • The Department will be performing random spot-check inspections of construction sites around the City. If sites are not safely secured, the Department will take immediate enforcement action with the issuance of violations and Stop Work Orders if necessary.
  • The Department has additional staff on standby as part of its Emergency Response Team, which performs emergency and after-hours emergency response in coordination with OEM, NYPD, FDNY, and other involved agencies.

Department of Homeless Services (DHS)

  • DHS continues to use its Cold Weather Emergency Procedure, called Code Blue, to protect unsheltered individuals, who are more at risk for exposure deaths during the cold winter months. During Code Blue conditions, DHS doubles its outreach efforts

Department of Transportation

  • Alternate side parking is suspended for Tuesday, January 7.
  • Bridge and Staten Island Ferry crews are ready with anti-icing crews and equipment.

Health & Hospitals Corporation

  • Emergency rooms are open.
  • All other patient care services are open.

Department of Housing Preservation and Developement

  • Code Inspectors are working extended hours to address heat complaints.

Human Resources Administration

  • HRA’s case management programs for vulnerable New Yorkers, including Adult Protective Services, Domestic Violence, HIV/AIDS Services and Homecare Services, are working with clients who have been identified as having insufficient heat. HRA’s Home Care Services Program has asked their vendors to report if there is any client who has no heat or electricity.

NYCHA

  • NYCHA has prepared a flyer that will be posted in all 2,600 public housing buildings and also translated into Spanish, Russian and Chinese, to warn residents of the coming cold temperatures and ask that they check in on vulnerable neighbors.
  • NYCHA will have additional teams of heating, plumbers and electricians to respond to any potential heat and hot water outages or any other weather related emergency.

PARKS

  • Parks will be inspected for homeless conditions. Parks and DHS will provide services for any individuals attempting to stay overnight in parks.
  • Lakes and water bodies are being monitored for ice formation.

Department of Education

Department of Design and Construction

  • Canceled all water shutdowns for DCC street infrastructure projects.
  • Ensuring that all public-buildings sites are secured and prepared for frigid temperatures.

Check on Neighbors, Friends, Relatives and Clients

  • Home visiting and social service agencies should activate their cold emergency plans, and reach out in advance to their clients to make sure they’re aware of the cold and snow.
  • If you are concerned about someone on the street who may be homeless and in need of assistance call 311 and ask for the Mobile Outreach Response Team. The Department of Homeless Services will send an outreach team to the location to assess the individual’s condition and take appropriate action.
  • If your building is cold, check on your neighbors. If you know someone who is vulnerable and lacking heat, help them get to warm places and notify the builing manager and/or call 311 to get heat restored. If you see someone with signs of hypothermia such as confusion, shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness call 911 for help and help the person get warm while waiting for help.
  • Landlords and building managers should check their building systems to ensure heat, and check on vulnerable people

Health problems resulting from prolonged exposure to cold include hypothermia, frostbite and exacerbation of chronic heart and lung conditions. Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite:

  • Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition where the body temperature is abnormally low. Symptoms may include shivering, slurred speech, sluggishness, drowsiness, unusual behavior, confusion, dizziness, and shallow breathing. Some people, such as infants, seniors, and those with chronic diseases and substance abuse problems can get sick quicker. Check on friends, relatives, and neighbors who may need assistance to ensure they are adequately protected from the cold.
  • Frostbite is a serious injury to a body part frozen from exposure to the cold. It most often affects extremities like fingers and toes or exposed areas such as ears or parts of the face. Redness and pain may be the first warning of frostbite. Other symptoms include numbness or skin that appears pale, firm, or waxy.

Provide first aid:

  • If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, call 911 to get medical help.
  • While waiting for assistance to arrive, help the person get warm by getting them to a warm place if possible, removing any damp clothing and covering them with warm blankets.

What to Do if You Lose Heat or Hot Water at Home

The heat season began on October 1, 2013, and continues through May 31, 2014. During heat season, residential owners with tenants are required by law to maintain an indoor temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit between 6 AM and 10 PM when the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees. Between 10 PM and 6 AM, building owners must maintain an indoor temperature of 55 degrees when the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees. Hot water is required to be maintained at 120 degrees.

Any New York City tenant without adequate heat or hot water should first speak with the building owner, manager, or superintendent. If the problem is not corrected, tenants should call 311. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will take measures to ensure that the building owner is complying with the law. This may include contacting the building’s owner and/or sending an inspector to verify the complaint and issue a violation directing the owner to restore heat and hot water if appropriate. If the owner fails to comply and does not restore service, HPD may initiate repairs through its Emergency Repair Program and bill the landlord for the cost of the work. HPD also may initiate legal action against properties that are issued heat violations, and owners who incur multiple heat violations are subject to litigation seeking maximum litigation penalties and to continued scrutiny on heat and other code deficiencies.

Take measures to trap existing warm air and safely stay warm until heat returns, including:

  • Insulate your home as much as possible. Hang blankets over windows and doorways and stay in a well-insulated room while the heat is out.
  • Dress warmly. Wear hats, scarves, gloves, and layered clothing.
  • If you have a well maintained working fireplace and use it for heat and light, but be sure to keep the damper open for ventilation. Never use a fireplace without a screen.
  • If the cold persists and your heat is not restored call family, neighbors, or friends to see if you can stay with them.
  • Do not use your oven or fuel-burning space heaters to heat your home. These can release carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell.
  • Open your faucets to a steady drip so pipes do not freeze.

Safe Home Heating Tips

Improper use of portable heating equipment can lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Take precautions to ensure you are heating your home safely.

Fire safety tips:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm in every room. Test them at least once a month and change the batteries twice a year.
  • Use only portable heating equipment that is approved for indoor use. Space heaters are temporary heating devices and should only be used for a limited time each day.
  • Keep combustible materials, including furniture, drapes, and carpeting at least three feet away from the heat source. Never drape clothes over a space heater to dry them.
  • Never leave children alone in the room where a space heater is running. Always keep an eye on heating equipment. Turn it off when you are unable to closely monitor it.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord or power strip. Do not plug anything else into the same outlet when the space heater is in use. Do not use space heaters with frayed or damaged cords.
  • If you are going to use an electric blanket, only use one that is less than 10 years old from the date of purchase. Also avoid tucking the electric blanket in at the sides of the bed. Only purchase blankets with an automatic safety shut-off.

Carbon monoxide safety tips:

  • Carbon monoxide comes from the burning of fuel. Therefore, make sure all fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, and clothes dryers are properly vented to the outdoors and operating properly. If you are not sure, contact a professional to inspect and make necessary repairs.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Most homes and residential buildings in New York City are required by law to have carbon monoxide detectors installed near all sleeping areas. Owners are responsible for installing approved carbon monoxide detectors. Occupants are responsible for keeping and maintaining the carbon monoxide detectors in good repair.
  • If you have a working fireplace keep chimneys clean and clear of debris.
  • Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven, charcoal barbecue grill, or kerosene, propane, or oil-burning heaters.
  • The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are non-specific and include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleepiness, trouble breathing, and loss of consciousness. Severe poisonings may result in permanent injury or death.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911, get the victim to fresh air immediately, and open windows.

If You Need Emergency Heating Assistance

The Human Resources Administration (HRA) administers the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which provides low-income people with emergency heating assistance. Eligible residents will receive a payment for fuel delivery, or HRA will arrange for fuel delivery or boiler repair. Emergency assistance is given to those who qualify only once per heating season. Call 311 for more information.

Homeless Outreach

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) continues to use its Cold Weather Emergency Procedure, called Code Blue, to protect unsheltered individuals, who are more at risk for exposure deaths during the cold winter months. During Code Blue conditions DHS doubles its outreach efforts. Community members that identify someone on the street they believe needs assistance should call 311 and ask for the Mobile Outreach Response Team; in any emergency community members should call 911. The Department of Homeless Services will send an outreach team to the location to assess the individual’s condition and take appropriate action.

Outreach workers are on the streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are trained to:

  • Identify and regularly monitor individuals who may be at risk during cold weather.
  • Engage at-risk individuals and persuade them to voluntarily come indoors.

During a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency, housing options for the homeless include the following:

Shelters: During a Code Blue, homeless adults can access any shelter location for single individuals. Beds are available system-wide to accommodate anyone brought in by outreach teams or walk-ins.

Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24 hours a day when Code Blue procedures are in effect, taking in as many as people as possible for the duration of inclement weather. Drop-in staff also can make arrangements for homeless individuals at other citywide facilities.

Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless individuals may be transported to these low-threshold housing options where they may go directly from the street to a bed.

For more information about cold weather safety and how you can prepare for emergencies call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/oem.

Staying in Touch with OEM
The Office of Emergency Management communicates directly with the public through a variety of tools, including Notify NYC. This is just one way the City of New York communicates urgent information to city residents. In addition to sending e-mails, text messages, and phone calls, the emergency notification office has the ability to activate NYC’s Emergency Alert System (EAS), which sends information immediately via television and radio. Residents can also visit Facebook, Twitter, and the agency’s website, nyc.gov/oem for more information. The public can sign up for Notify NYC by calling 311 or going to www.NYC.gov/notifynyc.

 

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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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City to get another round of snow


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Get ready for some more snow.

For the third time in a week, another round of flakes will hit New York City.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert” starting at 4 a.m. Tuesday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. Alternate side parking has been suspended Tuesday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management has also  issued a “travel advisory” for tomorrow.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), 2 to 4 inches of snow are expected Tuesday.

The flakes will start falling after 3 a.m., but could mix with rain before tapering off in the afternoon. The high tomorrow will be around 35.

Tuesday night the low will be around 24 with a chance of snow, mainly before 7 p.m.., according to the NWS.

 

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NYC to get more snow this weekend


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated Saturday, December 14 10:10 a.m.

After one snowfall earlier this week, the city will be hit with another round of flakes this weekend.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert” starting at 8 a.m. Saturday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. Alternate side parking has been suspended Saturday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management has also issued a “hazardous travel advisory” for Saturday.

The snow will start falling Saturday morning, with 4 to 6 inches of snow accumulation expected and a high of 31, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Around 10 p.m., the flakes will begin turning to rain.

The rain should stop by mid-day Sunday and temperatures will be warmer, with a high of 43, according to the NWS. But it will be breezy, with winds at 16 to 21 mph.

For anyone traveling on public transportation this weekend, the MTA said has plans in place to keep its transit services up and running during bad winter weather conditions. The transit agency has cancelled scheduled weekend work with these exceptions. To see any MTA service changes, click here.

 

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Snow hits New York City; 3 to 5 inches expected


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Winter is still more than a week away, but the snowflakes are already falling.

The New York City Department of Sanitation issued a “snow alert” starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Alternate side parking has been suspended today to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The snowy weather will continue throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).  A winter weather advisory is in effect until 5 p.m., with 3 to 5 inches of snow predicted in the city. Drivers should expect icy and dangerous travel conditions.

For anyone traveling on public transportation, the MTA said has plans in place to keep its transit services up and running during bad winter weather conditions.  To see any MTA service changes, click here.

 

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Weather could disrupt Thanksgiving travel


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NOAA/NASA

The weather could put a damper on holiday travel plans this Thanksgiving.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), moderate to heavy rains are continuing to move over the southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions while light snow is continuing from Ohio eastward through central New England.

The NWS has issued winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for a large area from the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys eastward across the Appalachians to the interior Mid-Atlantic region and the Lower Great Lakes as well as interior New England.

Flood watches are in effect for parts of the Northeast, Carolinas and Northwest.

CNN reported that bad weather has already disrupted the west, from California to Texas, and could bring snowy and icy conditions to the East. But rain is only likely in New York.

Windy conditions however, could compromise the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. According to CNN, authorities are prepared to pull them from the parade if sustained winds exceed 23 mph on Thursday.

To see how the weather is affecting flights around the country, visit www.flightaware.com.

 

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Snow alert issued for NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Although it will be nothing close to what Nemo brought to the New York City area last week, there is more snow in the forecast.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert” for Wednesday, starting at 4 p.m., in preparation of a possible snow event.

According to the National Weather Service, there will be rain after 5 p.m., which will turn to snow mainly before 3 a.m., with accumulations of one to three inches possible.

Snow is also forecasted for Friday night, but with the low around freezing, the precipitation should be mixed.

 

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Snow starts in New York as city braces for blizzard


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

queenssnow-540x405

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.:  Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for New York.

“As this winter storm unfolds, bringing heavy snow and high winds to parts of the state, I strongly urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution, avoid travel, and stay indoors,” said Cuomo. “To ensure an effective and rapid response to this winter storm, I am declaring a state of emergency for counties in the lower Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island so resources can get to communities where they are needed as quickly as possible.”

——–

Early Friday morning the snow began falling, but the worst of the weather is still to come.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a blizzard warning from the New York City area that will remain in effect until 1 p.m. Saturday. Ten to 14 inches of snow are expected as well as strong winds at 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

During the day Friday, the warmer temperatures will bring a mix of rain and snow, but the precipitation will turn to all snow by 3 p.m., with the worst storm conditions forecasted for tonight. The snow should taper off on Saturday morning.

Both the city and local residents are taking the blizzard warning seriously.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a severe weather advisory for the city, and, even though the schools are open today, cancelled all after-school programs and PSAL games have been cancelled.

Yesterday, at a storm press briefing, the mayor also assured residents that the snow plows and salt spreaders are ready to go.

City residents can track the progress of the Department of Sanitation‘s clearing operations for their specific street online.

Alternate side parking is suspended citywide through Sunday, but if your vehicle is found blocking roadways or hindering the ability to plow streets, it may be towed at the owner’s expense.

Though the city’s weather advisory urged the public to use public transportation and avoid unnecessary driving during the duration of the storm.

Because many commuters are likely to head home early today before the heavy snow begins, the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North have added extra trains.

Despite the additional transit and warnings to stay off the road, drivers still made sure to fill up their tanks Thursday. As a result, several area gas stations are experiencing long lines reminiscent of the Sandy gas shortage.

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