Snow and Sleet Cause Havoc for Travelers


The morning commute will be cold and rainy, with snow beginning later as temperatures drop.

Bundle up, New Yorkers, because it’s official: Winter has arrived.

A storm delivering up to 18 inches of snow to parts of New York State, Connecticut and New Jersey landed in the region on Sunday morning and is expected to continue through Monday night.

New York City officials warned that the storm would affect people’s travels home after the Thanksgiving holiday and make for a messy Monday commute.

New York City and Long Island are expected to see about two to five inches of snow by Monday night. The morning commute will be cold and rainy, with snow beginning later as temperatures drop.

Travelers flying to Newark, La Guardia and John F. Kennedy Airports can expect delays of between one to two and a half hours.
“I urge you to take extra precautions when traveling,” Deanne Criswell, the city’s emergency management commissioner, said in a statement on Saturday night. “For Monday’s commute, I encourage you to use mass transit where possible as the roads could look different from when you leave home in the morning.”

New York City schools were expected to remain open, the Department of Education said on Twitter Sunday night. After-school programs that require school bus transportation will be canceled Monday.

On Sunday afternoon, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo put New York State’s National Guard on standby and activated the Emergency Operations Center to monitor the storm.

“Snow, black ice, rain and wind are a bad combination,” he said in a statement.

Sunday morning’s wintry mix of snow and freezing rain turned into rain by the evening. By midday Monday, the rain will turn back to snow, forecasters at the National Weather Service said.

Early on Sunday morning, the icy conditions caused some travel mishaps. At Buffalo Niagara International Airport, a Delta Air Lines plane flying in from La Guardia Airport slid off the taxiway because of ice, according to local news reports. No injuries were reported.

The Twitter account for the New York State Police said troopers had responded to more than 500 storm-related crashes around the state and urged drivers to stay home if possible.

The New York State Thruway Authority’s Twitter account said the speed limit on the road would be reduced “from exit 45 to exit 19 until further notice.” The authority announced that the speed limit on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge had been reduced to 35 miles per hour in both directions.

The National Weather Service issued storm warnings for much of the lower Hudson Valley, southern Connecticut and northeast New Jersey, which could see one to two inches of snowfall per hour for parts of Sunday and Monday.

“We want everybody to take it safe today before the worst of it hits us,” said New Jersey Gov. Philip D. Murphy at a news conference on Sunday morning.

Travelers should not expect any major issues with New Jersey Transit, according to the state’s Department of Transportation.

But buses leaving from the Port Authority in Manhattan to parts of upstate New York — including Binghamton, Rochester, Buffalo, Ithaca and Syracuse — were canceled Sunday afternoon until further notice, according to Mr. Cuomo.

Officials also warned that coastal parts of Long Island and Connecticut could experience up to two feet of flooding during high tides.

In preparation, the New York City Department of Sanitation deployed 705 salt spreaders across the five boroughs and will send out 1,500 plows on Monday if more than two inches of snow accumulates on the streets.

The sanitation department issued a snow alert beginning at 3 a.m. on Sunday.

Because the temperature was hovering around freezing, it was “a very difficult storm to prepare for,” Kathryn Garcia, the city’s sanitation commissioner, said at a news conference on Saturday. “We really want people to be paying attention to the weather forecast, because this is something that could change quickly.”