Well, well, well. New Yorkers lucked out last night and were spared the feared three feet of snow predicted to hit the city. Forecasts put our friends to the north and east as bearing the brunt of the storm, with 18 inches already recorded in Massachusetts—and plenty of snow still headed their way. Here's what you need to know today:
What's coming today
New York: The National Weather Service expects just two to four more inches in the city today, at most; the blizzard warning—which is about visibility, and not about accumulation—has been removed. Snowfall will likely let up by this evening.
Long Island and New England: The cities and states that got the snow New York was expecting are still under a blizzard warning; as much as another foot of snow could hit Boston before it tapers off tonight.
When does travel start up again?
New York: Travel bans were lifted in New York and New Jersey at 7:30 a.m. this morning, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's pointless freakout and insistence that MTA close service to pedestrians last night.
- Subways and buses, which began to resume at 9 a.m., will be up to Sunday service by noon.
- Commuter rail, including LIRR, will be up and running to Sunday levels by this afternoon.
- Bridges and tunnels are open
- Airports LOL.
How much did we get last night?
- Central Park: 6.3 inches
- Queens: 10.1 inches
- Brooklyn: 4.3 inches
- Nassau County: 14.2 inches
- Long Island: 18 inches
- Philadelphia: 1.5 inches
- Hartford: 13.8 inches
- Boston: 14.5 inches
- Providence: 10.3 inches
Why didn't New York see more snow?
As The Vane's Dennis Mersereau wrote yesterday, nor'easters have an "ugly bust potential," because the slightest change to eastern winds can push the heavier snowfall eastward and "result in dramatically lower accumulations in places like central New Jersey and the New York City metro area," which is exactly what happened last night.
There were two competing models that forecasters were using to judge the storm: One that showed a large band of heavy snow stalling over New York City, and another that showed that band moving east to dump snow over Long Island. The NWS, basing its predictions on the first model, continued to warn of two or more feet of snow on the city, but the second model ended up predicting more accurately. (The Weather Channel, to its credit, had the most accurate snowfall predictions. Unfortunately, as Choire Sicha points out at the Awl, the Weather Channel's completely insane website makes it seem utterly unreliable.)
But just because New York missed out doesn't mean anyone else did. In places hit hardest by the storm, namely eastern Massachusetts, large snow drifts and whiteout conditions have been reported, and thousands are without power in Nantucket; as far as the New England coast and Long Island are concerned, this really was a "crippling" and "historic" blizzard.
Did Cuomo need to shut down the subway?
The consensus is: No. The MTA has a number of reduced-service options for inclement weather, allowing it to protect its trains and tracks while still providing limited service for the few people (emergency and service workers, stranded commuters) who need it. (The chair of the MTA said as much, before Cuomo made his unilateral decision.) As Benjamin Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas puts it:
The problem with Cuomo's decision is that it doesn't make sense. It's a noble goal to keep cars off the road so that emergency response teams and plows can move through the city unimpeded. But it ignores the reality of New York City — an often inconvenient one for Cuomo — to shutter the subway. Now, New Yorkers, from everyone building cleaning crews to service employees at bars who are on duty until 4 a.m. to nurses and hospitals on duty overnight, can't get around the city because the Governor decided it was somehow a danger for a subway system that operates largely underground to keep running through a massive but hardly unprecedented snow storm. Cuomo doesn't want to deal with headlines placing the blame for the next stranded subway on his shoulders so instead, the entire city is effectively shut down.
[ Image via AP]