Street closures for UN General Assembly

Rain, wind and cold combine to make conditions hazardous around the tri-state

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – The storm that’s still lingering in the tri-state area left 11 deaths in its wake in the West and Southeast U.S. before descending on the New York City region in the form of rain and winds.  However, there’s one more weather factor involved in the storm that could spell trouble for local residents as they head into the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The temperature has fallen 15 to 20 degrees since we got here,” said Joe Morgiewicz, a farmer selling produce from dawn to dusk at a farmer’s market near Columbus Circle.  “We unloaded in t-shirts, now we’re wearing coats.”

As a farmer, Morgiewicz said, he has to pay close attention to the weather.  On Wednesday there was much to observe and prepare for.  Winds were certainly on the list of weather factors, and a Christmas tree vendor in Hells Kitchen had that well in mind.

“It could be 30 miles an hour this afternoon and evening,” he said from under a tarpaulin he’d set up to keep dry.  But the wind could end up sending that tarp flying, as well as anything else not fastened down, as the manager of the farmer’s market near Columbus Circle pointed out from under his pop-up tent.

“On a bad day like this, where there’s a lot of wind,” said Drohan DeSanto, “you’ve got to tie down the [farmer’s market informational] literature.  Sometimes you’ve got to hang from the tent itself.  This [tent] is just a pretty big sail, that’s all it is.”

He had kettle weights attached by rope to his tent, which seemed to keep the temporary structure in place until his market closed at sundown.  It was good timing, since after sundown the sustained wind speeds began to get higher, causing temperatures to droop even further.

“When we got here [Wednesday morning], it was 50 degrees,” said farmer Joe Morgiewicz at the farmers market early Wednesday afternoon.  “Now you can see your breath.”

As the evening and night progress, the temperatures and wind chills will continue to lower.  That could be a significant hazard, particularly for people planning to drive Wednesday night or Thursday morning to pursue holiday plans.

“The cold air, which I think will refreeze along the slick roadways [is a problem],” said Michael Schlacter, founder of Weather 2000, a long-range weather forecasting company.  “So all of the treacherous conditions are still yet to come within the next 12 to 18 hours.”

He advised the same thing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did in a pre-holiday news conference on Tuesday.  “I urge drivers to use extreme caution, put safety first, and plan accordingly to avoid roadways during poor weather,” the governor said.