Mayor de Blasio Issues Hazardous Travel Advisory

January 21, 2016

Video available at:

Blizzard Watch in Effect for Saturday, January 23 through Sunday, January 24

Heavy snow and strong winds will create dangerous travel conditions Saturday; New Yorkers are urged to avoid traveling Saturday through Sunday afternoon

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today issued a hazardous travel advisory for Saturday, January 23, 2016 through Sunday, January 24, 2016. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Blizzard Watch for New York City from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon. This system is forecast to bring heavy snow along with strong and potentially damaging winds, and will create slick and hazardous travel conditions.

“From keeping our streets clear to keeping our residents safe and secure, this city is taking every step necessary to prepare for winter weather. In the case of severe snow this week, we will quickly mobilize a major operation to ensure every New Yorker in every neighborhood is prepared and protected,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "From our sanitation workers to our crossing guards to our homeless outreach staff, the hardworking men and women who keep this city safe are getting ready for whatever weather we may face.” 

“NYC Emergency Management continues to be in constant contact with the National Weather Service to get the latest information about the storm’s track and intensity,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “We are working closely with our partner agencies to prepare for whatever impact this storm may bring to the City.”

“The men and women of the Department of Sanitation are ready to keep New York City’s 6,000 miles of roads open during the coming storm,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “New York’s Strongest are loading our our salt spreaders, attaching plows to our heavy duty trucks and will be pre-deployed around the city to assure a quick response to whatever this storm brings.”

“DOT’s many divisions are ready to mobilize at any time in preparation for pending snow,” saidDOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “From pre-treating our overpasses, step streets and East River Bridges to making sure our ferry terminals are passable we are ready to keep New York moving.”

Speaking alongside sanitation workers in DSNY's new state-of-the-art salt shed on Spring Street in Manhattan, Mayor de Blasio announced the following steps New York City agencies are undertaking to prepare for a possible winter storm:

Department of Sanitation

  • The NYC Department of Sanitation is pre-deploying 579 salt spreaders Friday evening. PLOWNYC will be activated and 1,650 plows will be dispatched when more than two inches of snow accumulates. 135 other plows from DEP, DOT, and Parks will assist DSNY snow clearing operations.
  • DSNY has 303,000 tons of rock salt on hand, and a snow budget of $77.5 million for this winter.
  • Sanitation workers have been assigned to two 12-hour shifts starting Friday at 7 AM, with 2,400 workers per shift.


  • DOT will deploy crews to each of the East River bridges to conduct de-icing treatments and clear the walkways.
  • DOT will deploy crews to pre-treat pedestrian overpasses and step streets, and ensure each of our Ferry terminals and municipal parking garages are pre-salted in advance of any snow.
  • Crews from JC Decaux Street Furniture New York will pre-treat all bus shelter locations.
  • Typically during snow operations DOT deploys over 400 personnel and over 100 pieces of equipment, including nearly 80 trucks for plowing, over several shifts.

NYC Emergency Management

  • NYC Emergency Management is working closely with the National Weather Service to monitor the storm’s track to determine any potential impact to New York City.
  • NYCEM is hosting daily interagency conference calls with city and state agencies and public and private partners to coordinate the City’s preparation for the storm.
  • NYCEM has begun extensive outreach to elected officials by providing daily emails with the latest information regarding the storm’s track and potential impact to the City. Daily conference calls begin Friday.
  • NYCEM issued an Advance Warning System (AWS) message to service providers to encourage their clients to prepare for winter weather. The AWS message is disseminated to more than 1,400 local nonprofits and organizations that work with people with disabilities and access and functional needs.


  • Preparing staff and generators for potential deployment to ensure drinking water testing continues unaffected and wastewater treatment services continue.


A Code Blue Weather Emergency notice is issued when the weather drops to 32 degrees or below. Code Blue Weather Emergencies includes the following options for the homeless:

  • Shelters: During a Code Blue, homeless adults can access any shelter location for single individuals. Beds are available system-wide to accommodate anyone brought in by outreach teams or walk-ins.
  • Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24 hours a day when Code Blue procedures are in effect, taking in as many as people as possible for the duration of inclement weather. Drop-in staff also can make arrangements for homeless individuals at other citywide facilities.
  • Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless individuals may be transported to these low-threshold housing options, where they may go directly from the street to a bed.

Travel Safety Tips:

New Yorkers are encouraged to take the following precautions:

For Motorists

  • If you must drive a vehicle, monitor weather and traffic reports for the latest road conditions. Use mass transportation whenever possible.
  • Drive slowly. Posted speed limits are for ideal weather conditions. Vehicles take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
  • Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles may make it easier to drive on snow-covered roads, but they do not stop quicker than other vehicles.
  • Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck in snow.
  • If you get stuck on the road, stay with your car and contact a towing company.

For Pedestrians

  • Exercise caution and avoid slippery surfaces; some ice may not be visible.
  • Wear layers including a hat, gloves/mittens, and a scarf to stay protected from the cold. And keep clothes and shoes dry, if a layer becomes wet, remove it.
  • Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
  • Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.
  • Wear sturdy boots that provide traction to reduce slipping. Use handrails when using stairs.
  • Seniors should take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls from icy conditions.

Safe Home Heating Tips

  • Report any loss of heat or hot water to property managers immediately, and call 311.
  • If homes lack heat, get to a warm place, if possible, and wear extra layers of dry, loose-fitting clothing, hats and gloves to help stay warm.
  • Never use a gas stove to heat your home.
  • Never use a kerosene or propane space heater, charcoal or gas grill, or generator indoors or near the home.

Check on your neighbors, friends, and relatives — especially the elderly and those with disabilities and access and functional needs. People most likely to be exposed to dangerous winter weather conditions include those who lack shelter, work outdoors, and/or live in homes with malfunctioning or inadequate heat. Seniors, infants, people with chronic cardiovascular or lung conditions, people using alcohol or drugs, and people with cognitive impairments such as from dementia, serious mental illness or developmental disability, are at increased risk.

More Information:
For more helpful tips for staying warm and safe, view NYC Emergency Management's public service video announcement, or visit New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City's free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can receive phone calls, text messages, and/or emails alerts about traffic and transit disruptions and other emergencies. To sign up for Notify NYC, call 311, visit, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

(212) 788-2958