Mayor says city ready for next storm, predicted this weekend
Warns of blood shortage, plans to donate
As the city dug out from under its third major snowfall on Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio assured New Yorkers that the city had stockpiled enough salt and other resources for the next storm, predicted to hit this weekend.
“We believe things will be concentrated on Sunday and Monday, but we’re planning for two days of major storm, and we have the salt reserve necessary for that,” he said.
Two vastly different scenarios for Sunday’s winter weather have not yet gelled into a dependable forecast. One calls for just a couple of inches of snow arriving Sunday and continuing into Monday, with two weak storms sucking the mojo out of each other.
Another, less likely possibility, however, has a strong storm developing into a blizzard as it nears the Atlantic Ocean. According to Accuweather, if full blown, this scenario could result in several inches of snow per hour and strong winds.
In either case, Mayor de Blasio said the city would meet the challenge. “As New Yorkers, we’re tough enough to handle it.”
De Blasio credited First Deputy Tony Shorris for “keeping things flowing very nicely” during the last storms and said his administration had learned something from each one. “I take a very hands-on attitude, and all my leaders do. We are constantly working to learn and improve.”
He added, however, he was not willing to shovel the sidewalk in front of Gracie Mansion when his family finally moves there from his Park Slope residence. “As I’ve said, you know, this current house we bought 14 years ago, and I’ve been shoveling it out every winter, so it’s nothing new for me. I went to the gym this morning before shoveling, thinking I would warm up for shoveling. I want to advise people that going to the gym before shoveling is not always a good idea.”
De Blasio said that because of the previous storms, blood donations were behind schedule and called for volunteers to roll up their sleeves –- adding that he was making plans to donate blood himself. “We have a serious situation,” he said. People interested in donating should call 800-933-2566 or visit nybloodcenter.org
Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said that the 911 emergency call system remained “reasonably stable” during Wednesday ice storm, but the streets were “slow going.” He said the city had put 25 extra ambulances on duty. “Call volume is up slightly, one percent, but we’re making up for that with the extra units.”
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said that public school attendance was running about 60 percent by midday, and that while the city had kept schools open on Wednesday, that wouldn’t necessarily be the case for the next storm.
Still, she said, school is a “safe haven” for many kids whose parents still have to go to work during a storm. “We do closings very carefully.”
Carmen Bianco, acting NYC Transit president, said that the mass transit system had experienced some signaling and icing problems on Wednesday, but by noon, of 468 stations, “70 percent are at least partially cleansed.” He said about a thousand employees were “out doing that job.”
Transit was still investigating the cause of a grounded cable that caused massive service delays on the Seventh Avenue line in Manhattan. “It took 90 minutes to find the problem, isolate it, and work around it,” Bianco said.
Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno said the agency was working with Con Edison to make sure that repairs involving power lines and manhole problems were properly concluded.
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