Massive NYC snowstorm could cause power outages, dangerous commutes

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The blockbuster storm headed for the Big Apple is still set to dump up to a foot of snow in the city — as forecasters warned of power outages and treacherous road conditions.

The first flurries are expected around 5 p.m. Wednesday, as a mix of snow and rain with the potential to snarl the evening commute, according to Accuweather senior meteorologist Tyler Roys.

But the heaviest snow is expected to fall beginning around 8 p.m., lasting until around 2 a.m. 

“During this time we can expect to see wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour, which can lead to white out conditions,” he said. “The visibility is going to be reduced greatly.”

Snow is expected to fall at a rate of about an inch an hour in the city, and at about two inches an hour north of the city. 

Between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., the snow will be heavy at times, and “moderate” at others, according to Roys. 

It’s set to taper off entirely by 10 a.m. — hours after the earliest morning commuters leave their homes. 

“If you’re thinking of a Thursday morning commute, it’s definitely going to be difficult,” Roys said. “It’s going to be dangerous.” 

 Staten Island and Brooklyn are forecast to see closer to six inches of snow. The Bronx, Yonkers and further north should expect a foot. 

Meanwhile, northern New Jersey, especially near the Pennsylvania border, could be blanketed in up to two feet of snow, Roys said.

Wednesday’s high temperature for the city is 33 degrees, but it will feel more like 24 with the wind chill. The expected low temperature is 30 degrees, but it will feel like a frigid 8 degrees. 

The mercury won’t rise above the freezing mark on Thursday, and it could fall as low as 21 degrees. The wind chill is expected to make it feel as bitter as 14 degrees. 

“Because temperatures are going to be hovering around freezing, the upper 20s — that temperature range leads to this wet, heavy snow, [plus] those winds… it increases the chances of tree branches to break and trees to wall onto power lines,” Roys said. “It increases the chance of power outages.”

The outages could make work difficult or even impossible for those still telecommuting during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Roys.

“All of a sudden, you’ve taken away millions of people to potentially work Thursday or even Friday, depending on how quickly they can clean up,” he said. “It’s a threat that could linger into the weekend.”

On the bright side though, “this is the snow that’s conducive for making snowmen, having a snowball fight,” he said.

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