NEW YORK— The northeastern coast of the United States is preparing for what may become one of the worst blizzards on record.
Snowflakes began to fall Friday afternoon local time in New York City, where snow removal crews are preparing for up to 30 centimeters of snow. Eighteen-hundred sanitation trucks stand ready to plow the city’s 10,000 kilometers of roadway, and to lay down more than a quarter million metric tons of salt.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has warned area residents about the potential severity of the coming blizzard, which may bring winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.
“Stay off the city streets, stay out of your cars and stay in your homes while the worst of this storm is on us,” he said.
Still, some New Yorkers, like Bruce Payan, remain unconcerned.
“I don’t think it’s any big deal. We deal with it every year. So I have no problem with it,” he said.
The New England region, north and east of New York, is expecting snow accumulations of up to one meter within a 24-hour period. Meteorologists also predict sub-zero centigrade temperatures, and there may be power outages, according to Bob Rooney, the chief operating officer for Newton, Massachusetts, near Boston.
“When that happens, you’ve got a recipe for a real problem for people who are at home because your house will cool down very quickly if they don’t have heat. So we’ve done lot of planning for sheltering should they need that,” said Rooney.
Despite satellite imagery and radar, no one is sure just what path the storm will take or how severe it will be. As the snow began to fall, one New Yorker put it this way: “Let’s hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.”