SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- As millions of residents in the Northeast prepared for a powerful blizzard bearing down on the region, bringing with it near hurricane-force winds along the coast and as much as three feet of snow, officials from New Jersey to Maine urged people to get off the roads and stay indoors.
Even before the worst of the storm hit, thousands of flights were grounded, public transportation was suspended or curtailed and travel bans were put in place in the half dozen states in the path of the storm. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Monday afternoon that all subway and bus service in New York City would stop at 11 p.m.
Many buses and trains were packed on Monday afternoon as officials urged people to leave work early, before heavy snow and high winds made travel treacherous or impossible.
“This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio warned.
Joe Pollina, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said on Monday night that the storm remained on track to deliver as much as three feet of snow to parts of New York City.
Most of the city, he said, could expect around two feet of snow, but in the southern parts of Queens and Brooklyn, he said that totals could reach 36 inches.
The conditions were expected to worsen throughout the evening and then, after midnight, intensify rapidly, with winds reaching 50 miles per hour.
The blizzard is expected to rage throughout the night and into Tuesday morning and not clear out until late in the afternoon.
Mr. de Blasio took the unusual step of ordering all drivers off the streets by 11 p.m. on Monday, a ban that he said covered “anything that has to do with leisure or convenience,” including, to the chagrin of many housebound New Yorkers, food-delivery.
The call to completely clear the streets was a reflection of how seriously public officials were taking the threat of the storm, which was expected to affect a 250-mile stretch of the Northeast.
Across the region, governors declared states of emergency, deployed National Guard units and readied fleets of snow plows and salt trucks.