NEW YORK (PIX11) – After meeting with the heads of New York City agencies, Mayor de Blasio expressed confidence in the city’s preparation for a major snowstorm Thursday evening.
“Everyone is focused, everyone is coordinated, everyone is ready,” de Blasio told the media in a press conference.
The mayor emphasized that New Yorkers should stay off the streets and remain indoors to allow snow plows and salting trucks complete access to the streets, and to avoid the dangerous cold expected to grip the city Friday morning.
He added that every plow is GPS-equipped, and can be tracked using the plow feature on the NYC Plow website.
Alternate side parking is suspended through Friday to keep people off the streets, and the mayor urged New Yorkers “you can leave your car where it is.”
NYPD tow trucks will be mobilized to remove stalled vehicles from roadways.
Sanitation Department will be working to clear bus stops, crosswalks and other “sensitive locations” once the snow accumulates. Garbage collection continues Thursday until workers have to divert efforts to snow removal.
The FDNY will have additional ambulances on the streets, equipped with snow chains on tires and snow removal equipment on board. In order to efficiently deal with any potential fire once the storm is underway, FDNY Commissioner Cassano has added an additional firefighter to each engine unit beginning Thursday night.
In low-lying areas there will be a possibility of moderate coastal flooding, de Blasio said, and the FDNY has prepositioned waterborne rescue crews.
The mayor also thanked his human services agencies for being proactive. Seniors will be well stocked with enough food deliveries to last through Monday.
Senior centers will be closed Friday, said de Blasio, adding, “It will be windy and icy out tomorrow, regardless of the number of inches of snow that we receive we want our seniors to stay indoors and stay safe.”
As temperatures plummet into the single digits, homeless outreach will be a major concern for the city.
“We’ve ordered a doubling of outreach efforts to reach unsheltered New Yorkers to make sure they are offered shelter,” De Blasio said. “If you see somebody homeless, or somebody in distress, please call 311 . . . if the situation appears more urgent, if someone’s life might be in immediate danger, please call 911.”
Intense shivering or disoriented could be signs of hypothermia.
He added that 911 should be used only for emergencies to avoid overloading the system, and that 311 should be utilized for anything not life-threatening.
De Blasio also reminded parents that public schools are open until the final decision, which will be made in the early morning hours on Friday. Schools Chancellor Farina added that, in any case, all field trips, PSAL and after school programs will be canceled Friday.
The snow is one factor, but the frigid conditions will create a host of other dangers, warned de Blasio. Overloading extension cords with heating blankets and space heaters or using gas ranges and ovens to warm apartments could create fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Residents without heat are urged to call the building owner or notify 311.