New York City

Winter storm Hercules causing ‘extensive’ NYC airport delays; school field trips canceled

Many subways running local

January 2, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Hunker down, Brooklyn! Winter storm Hercules is about to bring near blizzard conditions and the coldest temperatures in years to New York City, according to the National Weather Service, with parts of Brooklyn’s shoreline expected to be hit not only with icy roads and frigid temperatures, but with flooding as well.

By Thursday afternoon, NYC-area airports were already experiencing “excessive” delays, with some Laguardia-bound flights discharging passengers in Delaware, where they were boarded onto to buses to – hopefully — continue their way into the city. Delays averaged five hours at JFK International at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The National Weather Service issued a citywide Winter Storm Warning for New York City from 6 p.m. Thursday to 1 p.m. Friday, January 3, with 6 – 8 inches of snow predicted.

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While the snow is expected to fade by Friday afternoon, single-digit temperatures and blustery winds are expected, with gusts as high as 34 mph.

Mayor Bill de Blasio met with city commissioners at the Office of Emergency Management on Thursday. The NYC Department of Education canceled after school events and field trips, but deferred closing public schools until Friday morning.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) issued a Hazardous Travel Advisory into Friday, warning that roads will likely be icy and snow will continue to drift.

“Residents should drive slowly, monitor weather and traffic, use major streets or highways, and keep the name and number of at least one local towing service,” OEM said in a release. “Pedestrians should avoid slippery surfaces, dress in layers, and maintain a heightened awareness of cars, especially when crossing intersections.”

Subway service could be affected by the storm as well, according to the MTA. While the underground portions of the system remain clear during snowstorms, there are nearly 220 miles of outdoor track throughout the boroughs.  The Rockaway, Sea Beach, Brighton and Dyre Av Lines are particularly vulnerable to snow and freezing precipitation, MTA said.

To prevent subway trains from being blocked in yards, they will be moved and stored underground.  This will impact service on lines with express service. Update: MTA reports that several lines will switch to local from express service starting at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday.

All buses will be chained starting at 7 p.m., excluding express buses.

The Department of Subways will be salting platforms, and deicers are ready to be deployed. A “yellow-hued fleet of snow and ice-busting equipment,” designed to keep outdoor tracks, switches and third rails clear of snow and ice, is being fueled, according to MTA. The agency also reports that “super-powered snow throwers, jet-powered snow-blowers, and de-icing cars” are ready for immediate deployment.

Subway, railroad, bridge and tunnel commuters are urged to monitor regularly as well as television and radio for service updates.

The Department of Sanitation’s plow tracker will be available starting Friday at 6 a.m. at

The NYC Department of Transportation suspended Alternate Side Parking Regulations citywide on Thursday and Friday. To see updates, visit

Details updated at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

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