Feb 082013

Photos of the 1/27/2011 blizzard on 6th Ave in Bay Ridge [Image source: emilydickinsonridesabmx via Flickr].

The aftermath of the 1/27/2011 blizzard on 6th Ave in Bay Ridge [Image source: emilydickinsonridesabmx via Flickr].

Unless you’ve been in a drug-induced coma the last few days, then you probably know there are two “monster” storm systems set to converge on the Northeast tonight and tomorrow.

You also probably know that, in addition to the Nemo naming controversy, there’s been some contention as to which weather tracking model will prove to be right.

Earlier in the week, the American GFS model was calling for around 3 inches of snow, while the European ECMWF model – which is generally considered the most accurate, was calling for a little over a foot of frozen precipitation. Keep in mind the RPM model, which is calling for 30 inches, and you’ve got quite a disparity in winter weather predictions!

On Friday the uncertainty continues, with NY 1 calling for up to eight inches in the five boroughs, and ABC’s Accuweather forecast saying it will be more like 6- 18 inches, with higher snowfall totals the further northeast you go.

Indeed, one of the few points everyone seems to agree on is that the full force of this Nor’easter will be felt in coastal New England. This has resulted in a flood watch for Long Island Sound, which includes shore-front areas in the Bronx and Northern Queens.

While Southwest Brooklyn should be spared the two plus feet meteorologists are calling for in areas to our north and east, weather conditions – including hurricane force winds of up to 60 mph, will still be extremely hazardous for anyone stepping outside tonight into tomorrow morning.

Anyone in lower lying areas east of Bay Ridge and along the shore of Southern Brooklyn should also prepare for moderate to heavy flooding – although the 3-5 foot storm surge expected should not be anywhere near as bad as during Hurricane Sandy, when coastal waters rose 14 feet in just a few hours.

In the meantime, here are some transit & traffic updates for the next couple of days courtesy of NY 1 [Bear in mind these are all subject to change as weather conditions worsen]:

  • Amtrak has ended its northbound train service from Penn Station as of 12:30 p.m. Friday, and its Acela Express service as of 1:00 p.m.
  • The MTA has no plans to shut down New York City Transit, but there will be less subways and buses in service during the height of the storm as assets are stored underground.
  • There will be extra Metro-North trains early Friday afternoon to help customers get home before the snow gets too bad, but that also means there will be fewer trains after 5 p.m. Please be aware that cancellations are more likely as the evening progresses to prevent trains from becoming stranded.
  • Airlines have already cancelled hundreds of flights at area airports. [Airlines will probably be looking to send planes away from the Northeastern U.S. to prevent their fleets from becoming stranded and/or damaged in the blizzard]. On the plus side, most airlines say customers can rebook without paying any fees.
  • The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it’s mobilizing its plows and salt spreaders to keep its airports, bridges and tunnels operational – That includes 200 plows, salt spreaders and de-icers, as well as 2,000 tons of salt and 1,500 tons of sand for the spreaders. It is also mobilizing equipment to clear tracks along the PATH.
  • Alternate-side parking rules will be suspended citywide through Sunday, though meters [WTF?!] will still be in effect.