NEW YORK — New York City’s government agencies — already hamstrung by the pandemic — will be put to the test on Wednesday as the five boroughs are expected to be blanketed with 8 to 12 inches of snow on Wednesday and Thursday.
A nor’easter with the phonetically appropriate name Winter Storm Gail is on pace to hit the city around 2 p.m. Wednesday, with wind gusts of up to 50 mph and heavy, wet snowfall.
Gail won’t stop storming in the region until around 1 p.m. Thursday, said National Weather Service meteorologist James Connolly.
The worst of the snow is expected between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday. Portions of southern Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens could see a mix of rain that may tamp down snow accumulations, Connolly said.
It could be the nastiest snowstorm to hit the city in at least three years. Officials said they’ve been preparing for the worst for several days.
“You need to be ready for a disruptive storm and start to make adjustments right now in what you’ll be doing on Wednesday and Thursday in light of this storm,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. “People need to take it seriously.”
The city Department of Sanitation has at the ready more than 2,000 plows and 700 salt-spreaders that will be deployed on city streets in 12-hour shifts before, during and after the storm, said acting Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson.
Trucks were also deployed late Tuesday to spread salty brine onto streets to prevent ice and snow build-up.
The street clearing could take a bit longer compared to previous major snowstorms. Budget cuts passed by the City Council and de Blasio earlier this year trimmed 397 jobs from the Sanitation Department’s snow removal team, which Grayson last month said could lead to lengthy delays in trash collection following a blizzard.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials have also laid out plans for the Wednesday wallop, and said they were ready to shut down subway service along the city’s approximately 200 miles of above-ground track if conditions are as bad as expected.