NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Thursday's heavier-than-expected snowfall caused chaos in parts of New York City. A few inches of snow, icy roadways, and downed trees apparently led to stranded vehicles, including some school buses and sanitation vehicles.
But on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted the city probably couldn't have done much more to help given that weather forecasts were really off and the city was caught off-guard. The mayor said he is frustrated because 1 to 5 inches of snow is not a major event.
The snowstorm hit shortly before the evening rush hour. Snow fell very quickly and didn't stop at a slushy one inch, as forecasters had predicted. De Blasio and Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said the die was cast, so to speak, and that agencies couldn't recover and had no time to deploy snow plows.
Officials said that a precipitating factor in the chaos on the roads was a massive pileup on the George Washington Bridge, where at least 20 cars were involved in an accident.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of vehicles cross the bridge, so the crashes there caused massive backups for miles in both New Jersey and New York.
Also, the MTA's buses didn't have chains on their tires, so many got stuck or had to pull over, blocking streets.
City Council Speaker Cory Johnson criticized the city's handling of the snowfall and apologized to residents even though he has no authority over city departments.
"It was as still only 6 inches of snow. We're New York City—we get blizzards, a foot of snow, 2 feet of snow," Johnson said. "We should've been prepared to handle 6 inches of snow."
But the mayor isn't apologizing. He said his administration will do a review to look at what his staff and agencies could have done better.