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Ahead of Dangerously Cold Temperatures, Mayor de Blasio Issues Winter Weather Update, Urges New Yorkers to Take Steps to Protect Themselves and Help Others Who May Be at Increased Risk of Health Problems

January 6, 2015

NEW YORK—With temperatures expected to be dangerously cold beginning Tuesday through Thursday, Mayor de Blasio today issued an update on the frigid temperatures, urging New Yorkers to take steps to protect themselves and help others who may be at increased risk of health problems.

Tuesday’s forecasted temperature is a high near 26 degrees, with wind chill values between 10 and 15 degrees. Wednesday’s forecasted temperature is a high near 28 degrees. Temperatures Wednesday night are forecasted to be as low as 9 degrees, with wind chill values between zero and -15 degrees.

Snowfall began around 8:20 AM on Tuesday is expected to continue until around 5:00 PM Tuesday. The snow is not expected to fall continuously during that time. Light snow accumulations—up to two inches in the northern portions of the City—are possible with this event, followed by very cold conditions through the remainder of the week.

“As frigid winter weather sets in, it’s crucial that New Yorkers take steps to protect themselves and look out for their neighbors,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “If you can avoid traveling on our roads and stay indoors, do so. If you must go outside, dress warmly and take extreme precaution. The City will deploy all tools at its disposal to reach our most vulnerable populations—the elderly, people with medical challenges, the homeless—but we ask our fellow New Yorkers to help. If you see someone who looks like they may be at increased risk, report it immediately.”

Mayor de Blasio urged New Yorkers to take the following precautions:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • 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.
  • When outdoors, wear warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Use multiple layers to maintain warmth. 
  • Seniors should take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls from icy conditions.
  • Check on neighbors, friends, relatives and clients (if you are a service provider).

Mayor de Blasio also urged New Yorkers to check on their neighbors:

  • If you are concerned about someone on the street who may be homeless and in need of assistance, call 311 and ask for the Mobile Outreach Response Team. The Department of Homeless Services will send an outreach team to the location to assess the individual’s condition and take appropriate action.
  • If your building is cold, check on your neighbors. If you know someone who is vulnerable and lacking heat, help them get to warm places, and notify the building manager and/or call 311 to get heat restored. If you see someone with signs of hypothermia, such as confusion, shivering, slurred speech, and drowsiness, call 911 for help and help the person get warm while waiting for help.   

For more helpful tips for staying warm and safe, view NYC Emergency Management’s winter weather video.
Snow Removal
The Department of Sanitation deployed 424 salt spreaders as soon as precipitation began. Snow plows will be deployed for snow accumulations of more than 2 inches.

The Department of Transportation has deployed anti-icing units to each of the East River bridges and is pre-treating pedestrian overpasses and step streets.

Homeless Outreach
The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) continues to use its Cold Weather Emergency Procedure, called Code Blue, to protect unsheltered individuals, who are more at risk for exposure deaths during the cold winter months. During Code Blue conditions DHS doubles its outreach efforts. Community members that identify someone on the street they believe needs assistance should call 311 and ask for the Mobile Outreach Response Team; in any emergency community members should call 911. The Department of Homeless Services will send an outreach team to the location to assess the individual’s condition and take appropriate action.

Outreach workers are on the streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are trained to:

  • Identify and regularly monitor individuals who may be at risk during cold weather.
  • Engage at-risk individuals and persuade them to voluntarily come indoors.

During a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency, housing options for the homeless include the following:

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.
Garbage Collection
Trash and recycling pickups will continue on schedule and began at 7 AM. Equipment will be repurposed for snow removal, if required.

Alternate Side Parking Regulations are in effect citywide Tuesday. Parking meters remain in effect throughout the city.

The Staten Island Ferry and East River Ferry are operating on normal schedules.

New Yorkers can sign up for NotifyNYC alerts at for the latest news on services affected by the dip in temperatures. Information is also available by calling 311.

Media Contact
(212) 788-2958