AP: HARTFORD, Conn, By Dave Collins — Parts of the Northeast were preparing Monday for a coastal storm that was expected to pack high winds and dump a foot or more of snow in some areas, leading to school closures, warnings against traveling by road and the possible disruption of flights.
The nation’s largest school system in New York City said it was switching classes to remote learning and closing its buildings Tuesday because of the impending storm.
“With several inches of snow, poor visibility on the roads, and possible coastal flooding heading our way, New Yorkers should prepare in advance of tomorrow’s storm and take the necessary precautions to remain safe,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. “If you do not have to be on the roads tomorrow, please stay home.”
Some of the highest snowfall totals were forecast for the northern suburbs of New York City and southwestern Connecticut, where 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 centimeters) were possible, according to the National Weather Service. Wind gusts could hit 60 mph (100 kph) off the Massachusetts coast and 40 mph (65 kph) in interior parts of southern New England.
Forecasters said the storm track has been difficult to predict, with models on Monday showing it moving more to the south, which could decrease snowfall forecasts.
“It will make for a messy commute tomorrow morning,” Christina Speciale, a meteorologist for the weather service in Albany, New York, said Monday. “This is a fast-moving storm, so things should be cleared out by tomorrow afternoon.”
New York City Sanitation Department workers use a front-end loader to to fill a salt spreader at one of the Department’s salt sheds in lower Manhattan, Jan. 7, 2022, in New York. Parts of the Northeast were preparing Monday, Feb 12, 2024 for a coastal storm that was expected to pack high winds and dump a foot or more of snow in some areas, leading to school closures, warnings against traveling by road and the possible disruption of flights AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
In Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey told all non-essential Executive Branch employees to not report to work Tuesday. Boston schools will be closed and a parking ban will be in effect. Similar closures and bans were put in place in cities and towns across the region.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said the city’s homeless shelters will remain open.
“With the arrival of our first major snowstorm this winter, city teams are prepared to clear our roadways and respond to any emergencies during the storm,” Wu said.
Massachusetts emergency officials say they will have up to 3,000 pieces of equipment deployed to help keep roads clear.
The storm could also bring downed power lines and coastal flooding, according to Healey, who said the heaviest snow is expected between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“Let’s be smart and not too glib about things,” Healey told reporters. “We haven’t seen big storms in some time but the teams are predicting that this is going to be a real storm.”
Transportation officials in Pennsylvania urged people to avoid unnecessary travel and said vehicle restrictions would go into effect early Tuesday on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and other major roads.
Airports in the region asked travelers to check with their airlines in case of cancellations and delays.
Power companies said they were preparing to respond to possible outages that could occur because of trees and branches falling onto electricity lines.
“The hazardous conditions can also make travel challenging for our crews, so we’re staging extra staff and equipment across the state to ensure we’re ready to respond as quickly as possible wherever our crews are needed,” said Steve Sullivan, Eversource’s president of Connecticut electric operations.
At a news conference, New York City officials said that despite the snow predictions, they had no plans to relocate people from several large, heated tent shelter complexes built for thousands of homeless migrants.
“Those structures are designed to handle inclement weather,” said the city’s emergency management commissioner, Zachary Iscol. He said the city wasn’t expecting the type of strong winds or coastal flooding that prompted the evacuation of one of the tent shelters last month.
In the South, flood watches covered much of Alabama and parts of central Georgia on Monday. Up to 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain was expected in parts of Georgia and Alabama, the National Weather Service warned.
Thunderstorms were rolling through both states Monday, and the rough weather also extended into the Florida panhandle.
Associated Press writers Steve LeBlanc in Boston; Jeff Martin in Atlanta; and Ron Todt in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
Top Feature Photo: FILE — Sanitation trucks mounted with snow plows are parked on the west side of Manhattan in New York, Jan. 2, 2014. Parts of the Northeast were preparing Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, for a coastal storm that was expected to pack high winds and dump a foot or more of snow in some areas, leading to school closures, warnings against traveling by road and the possible disruption of flights AP Photo/Peter Morgan