A snow-covered street in Astoria, Queens. (Amy Roberts)
NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - A snowstorm with powerful winds is hitting the tristate New York area. After the storm passes, dramatically cold weather is expected. All New York City public schools are closed Thursday but will be open Friday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a winter state of emergency in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. During the height of the storm, the speed limit at all MTA bridges and tunnels is now 20 mph. A 35 mph speed restriction is in effect on the George Washington Bridge due to high winds and low visibility. The Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge, and Bayonne Bridge have a 25 mph speed limit.
Long Island, especially eastern Suffolk County, bore the brunt of the storm in our area. More than a foot of snow fell in many parts of Nassau and Suffolk.
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a winter weather emergency and asked that New Yorkers to avoid driving and instead take mass transit, if possible.The mayor said he expects public schools to be open Friday but a final decision has not been made.
The New York City Sanitation Department dispatched 2,400 workers ahead of the storm to get the streets ready, Commissioner Kathyrn Garcia said. Hundreds of plows have hit almost all streets but blacktop will not be seen for some time because the strong winds are blowing the snow all over the place and the low temperatures make the salt less effective, she said.
The National Weather Service issued a Blizzard Warning Long Island, parts of the Jersey Shore and South Jersey, and parts of Connecticut from early Thursday through early Friday.
A Winter Storm Warningwas was effect for New York City and parts of northern New Jersey but that alert was later canceled.
This weekend, the low temperatures are going to drop into the single digits and Saturday night could see a record low for that date. The wind chills will make it feel even worse.
Fox 5 Meteorologist Nick Gregory predicts that the high on Friday will only be 14 degrees in the city and temperatures will drop to 2 degrees on Saturday. The record low for that date is 3 degrees, which was set in 1988.
Widespread wind chills of -10 to -20 degrees could be felt in the city on Friday and Saturday mornings according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters warn that the cold wind chills can cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin.