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Blizzard warning canceled for New York City as central NY gets pummeled

Posted at 7:34 AM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 22:12:51-04

NEW YORK — The big blizzard is a bust for Long Island and New York City, but areas north and west of the city are getting buried in snow.

The blizzard warning was canceled for New York City at 8 a.m. However, the National Weather Service was calling for continued snow and sleet. The warning was replaced with a winter weather advisory, with total accumulations now expected to be 4 to 8 inches in New York City, still a sizable storm, but hardly the system of crippling scope that had been predicted just hours earlier.

Eastern Long Island and southern New Jersey should get 3 to 6 inches of snow. In those areas, precipitation mixed with rain early on.

In Sea Bright, N.J., the Shrewsbury River overflowed, submerging docks and flooding a hotel parking lot with some 2 feet of water. The water is forecast to recede by 1 p.m. but is making for a mess along the Jersey shore.

Initial estimates showed that up to 2 feet of snow could clobber most of the New York area, with high winds and low visibilities creating the perfect recipe for a late-season blizzard after a winter that had been relatively benign.

As a precaution, schools were closed across the region and mass transit was curbed in places as states of emergencies were declared in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Areas north and west of the city are still in for it. Northwestern New Jersey, northern Westchester and the counties farther north in New York state as well as much of Connecticut are still under a blizzard warning, and remain in the bullseye for 18 to 24 inches of snow.

"Mother Nature is an unpredictable lady sometimes," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a 10 a.m. news conference in Manhattan. "She was unpredictable once again today."

Earlier forecasts warned that the five boroughs and Long Island would face the brunt of the storm, but because the system veered farther west, the hardest-hit part of the state is the southern tier, along the I-88 corridor up to Albany, Cuomo said.

Resources, including 2,000 National Guard troops, that had been deployed to New York City and Long Island are now being diverted north where the need is greater and the storm is "worse than anticipated," Cuomo said.

Although the city isn't buried beneath as much powder as initially predicted, the governor still urged New Yorkers to wait out the storm from the comfort of their homes.

"Stay inside. View this through the window," he said. "It looks beautiful through the window. If you step outside, it's not as beautiful."

Staying off the roads will let sanitation crews do their job most efficiently and clear commuters' paths in time for a return to work on Wednesday morning.

Ronnie Hakim, with the MTA, said she anticipates a normal morning rush hour on Wednesday.

Precipitation will begin to taper off around 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, and areas that have switched to rain may go back to snow at the very end.

Minor to moderate coastal flooding remains a threat, with high tides late this morning and afternoon posing potential problems.

The storm's track shifted closer to the shoreline, becoming a "coast hugger" that brought in warmer ocean air. Indeed, even as surface temperatures are in the 20s, temperatures higher in the atmosphere are warmer.

Had the storm shifted farther off shore, it would have meant more snow and an outcome closer to the predictions leading up to Tuesday morning.