New York City braces for snow, icy roads, gusty winds and frigid temps as dangerous winter storm approaches

It’s beginning to feel a lot like … winter.

After weeks of seesawing temps and marginally wintry days with frigid nights, the weather is going extreme with a major storm hitting New York city with rain and snow and plunging parts of the region into a deep freeze.

Snow and rain were starting to pelt the city Sunday evening as a Department of Sanitation Winter Operations Advisory went into effect.

The bulk of the storm’s snowfall was expected to dump about a foot upstate, with high winds and gale conditions predicted for coastal areas on Long Island and Connecticut. The dangerous winter storm began in the Southeast and swept northward, leaving tens of thousands of people without power in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. It toppled trees and fences, then coated roads in treacherous ice, The Associated Press reported.

The Northeast on Sunday braced for the system to arrive on its way to Canada.

“A deep low pressure system will continue to spread heavy snow northward across the upper Ohio Valley through the lower Great Lakes and the higher elevations of New England through Monday,” the National Weather Service said. “Snow will change over to a period of sleet/freezing rain before changing over to rain across interior Mid-Atlantic and the lower elevations of New England. Some heavy downpours, thunderstorms, and high winds can be expected to impact the coastal sections of the Mid-Atlantic up through New England into Monday.”

The “Arctic air” already blanketing the central and eastern U.S. was going to collaborate with the incoming “dynamic system to deliver a wide swath of more than a foot of heavy snow northward across the upper Ohio Valley through the lower Great Lakes, as the storm center is forecast to track up the interior section of the East Coast through Monday,” the NWS said.

New York City’s Office of Emergency Management issued a travel advisory for Sunday into Monday. Light snow was forecast to morph into rain between 9 p.m. and midnight, with periods of heavy rain and strong winds potentially reducing visibility and creating dangerous travel conditions, the department said.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the city, in effect from midnight to 8 a.m. Monday as winds were expected to gust up to 55 mph.

Brooklyn, Staten Island and southern Queens were also under Coastal Flood Warnings from 4 a.m. to noon Monday. The Bronx and northern Queens faced similar warnings starting at 7 a.m. and lasting till 1. Manhattan, too, was under a flood warning, from 4 a.m. Monday to 10 a.m., and flash flood emergency plans were in effect as well.

“With a potential mix of snow and heavy rain in the forecast arriving in New York City Sunday night into Monday morning, New Yorkers should prepare for slippery road conditions and potential flooding,” NYC Emergency Management First Deputy Commissioner Christina Farrell in a statement. “We urge New Yorkers to exercise caution. If you must travel, we encourage the use of mass transit and please allow for extra travel time.”

New York officials said they were ready for anything, with 700 salt spreaders pretreating roadways “ahead of the first snowflake” and more than 1,600 plows at the ready in case more than two inches accumulates.

“This is a fluid, changing forecast, and while heavy snow is not likely, DSNY never bets on rain in January,” New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said in the OEM statement. “We are ready to respond to whatever comes our way this weekend.”

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