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Mayor de Blasio Issues Winter Weather Emergency Declaration

January 22, 2016

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today issued a Winter Weather Emergency Declaration from 8 AM until midnight on Saturday, January 23, 2016. The Mayor urged residents to avoid all driving except in emergencies, and announced any vehicle blocking the roadways is subject to towing. The Mayor also announced suspended alternated side parking for Saturday, January 23, 2016.

“New York City is fully prepared for tomorrow’s storm. We are constantly monitoring the forecast and are ready to deploy a major, multi-agency operation. From delivering extra meals for homebound seniors to de-icing our roads and bridges, we are taking every step to prepare our five boroughs for the coming snowfall,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are urging every New Yorker to stay out of harm’s way and look out for neighbors so we can all make it through this storm safely.”

The Mayor announced the following agencies are taking steps to prepare for the coming weather:


  • 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 2,300 workers per shift.
  • All scheduled Saturday trash, recycling and organics collections are suspended because of snow clearing operations.


  • 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.
  • ASP will be suspended for Saturday, 1/23 to facilitate snow removal.
  • Crews from JC Decaux Street Furniture New York will pre-treat all bus shelter locations.
  • VMS boards will be deployed with updated emergency messaging.
  • Typically during snow operations DOT deploys over 400 personnel and over 100 pieces of equipment, including nearly 80 trucks for plowing, over several shifts.
  • It is anticipated that the Staten Island Ferry will operate on schedule throughout the storm, but all passengers should allow extra time should weather conditions impact schedule.
  • Citi Bike will shut down at 11:00 PM tonight. System reactivation will be announced.


  • 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. A NWS representative will be embedded at NYCEM for real-time forecast monitoring.
  • The City’s Emergency Operations Center at NYCEM headquarters will be activated ahead of the storm.
  • 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 is issuing Advance Warning System (AWS) updates to service providers, including more than 1,400 local nonprofits and organizations that work with people with disabilities and access and functional needs.
  • NYCEM is issuing Notify NYC alerts regarding storm preparations, forecast information, and condition updates. Sign up at or follow @notifyNYC on Twitter.


  • Additional 500 personnel on duty during storm.
  • Increased staffing on all 197 fire engines (5-firefighter staffing) beginning tonight at 1800 hours.
  • More than 117 additional ambulance tours – above normal complement - on streets during storm.
  • Ambulance fleet includes 74 four-wheel drive vehicles (most FDNY has ever had for a snowstorm). Chains on all ambulances.
  • 119 Probationary EMT’s will be deployed as a third ambulance crewmember during storm to assist with patient removal/transport.
  • Activation of more than 50 special units including high-axle vehicles to handle fire, medical response and storm related emergencies (including  flooding/dewatering, downed trees/limbs, vehicle accident extrication, etc.).
  • Additional supervisory staffing (3 chief officers) dedicated to Staten Island, southern Brooklyn and Rockaway, Queens.
  • 3 swift water rescue teams (in flood prone areas of S.I., Brooklyn and Rockaway).
  • All training at the Fire Academy cancelled for Saturday 1/23.


  • JOC will open at 6:00 AM on Saturday and will remain open until at least Monday.
  • NYPD will pre-position hi-axle vehicles to the highways and away from flood zones.
  • Zodiac boats will be assigned to Precincts boarding water as well as ESU units.
  • All vehicles will be fueled and ready to be for deployed.
  • Tours will be monitored, if needed, to ensure that staffing is available.
  • Mounted officers, Highway Units and NYPD Tow trucks will patrol highways around the city for disabled vehicles and motorist needing assistance.
  • Message boards will be activated on marked patrol vehicles alerting motorist of hazardous conditions.
  • Department vehicles will be outfitted with snow chains to allow for safe movement during the storm.
  • During the storm the public should call 911 for emergencies, all non-emergency calls should be directed to 311.
  • 911 system will be monitored for incoming calls.
  • All members on patrol who encounter a homeless individual will ensure that person has shelter. If the person has no shelter, they will offer the person transportation to the nearest shelter facility.
  • NYPD will assist with traffic control, towing, and enforcement (if needed) to assist sanitation with clearing streets.


  • Parks is providing 44 plows to assist the Department of Sanitation with plowing.
  • Will use approximately 130 plows and 250 pieces of mechanized equipment (snow blowers) snow removal in parks.
  • Spearhead snow removal in and around NYC parks.
  • Trees on streets and in parks are inspected and maintained on a regular basis. With projected high winds, forestry staff, including 70 foresters and 130 climbers and pruners, will monitor 311 service requests for tree hazard conditions and will be prepared to respond to downed trees and limbs affecting roadways.
  • Sandbags will be placed at key building locations and park equipment will be secured.
  • The Parks Department is strengthening protections against flooding at key locations in Coney Island, in Rockaway, and on Staten Island.
  • Sand replenishment work by the Army Corps in 2013 provides substantial protection at many of our beaches, but in anticipation of potential coastal flooding, efforts at beaches also include:
  • In Rockaway, the borough will install the storm panels in the baffle walls between 127 and 149 and assess whether any sand moving is necessary.
  • At Coney Island, Parks will berm key locations: Coney Island Avenue, Ocean Parkway, Stillwell Avenue and West 25 Street.
  • In Staten Island, Parks will close up openings in berms at South and Midland Beach and further south from Cedar Grove to Conference House Park.


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.


  • Testing and prepping all winter weather related equipment.
  • Topping off fuel tanks for generators, mobile boilers and heating plants; additional fuel deliveries scheduled as a precaution.
  • Securing all construction sites.
  • Reviewing staffing capabilities and facility readiness, and equipment mobilization; paying close attention to developments previously impacted by Sandy (monitoring mobile boilers; dedicated staff to address issues 24/7).
  • Due to the forecasted high winds, NYCHA will also shut down and lower the temporary light towers at locations participating in the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Light Tower Operations will resume on Monday. 
  • NYCHA is doubling the number of Maintenance Staff working Saturday, as well as adding additional heating, elevator and skilled trade teams.
  • Snow Removal Operations will be activated on Saturday, January 23, 2016. The staff will report to work at 8am and will continue snow removal operations until 7PM.  Staff will return Sunday, January 24, 2016 at 7 AM to continue snow removal operation until completion.
  • Identifying vulnerable populations (persons with Disabled, Access or Functional needs (DAFN) residents and other relevant resident demographics).
  • Posting cold weather tips and information on NYCHA’s snow removal process in our buildings, on our website and sharing on social media.
  • Coordinating with stakeholders, including city agency partners and elected officials.


  • Issue Senior Center Emergency protocol information to senior centers (including safety tips)
  • Notified meal programs to deliver an extra meal to all high-risk clients Friday
  • Advised case management agencies to contact and check in on at-risk clients
  • Centers regularly opened during the weekends are asked to carefully plan ahead, taking into consideration transportation and walking hazards for seniors.
  • Centers with the capacity to offer take-home meals for participants are encouraged to do so.
  • Center locations in coastal areas are asked to check the severe weather website for up-to-date conditions.


  • 311 staff will increase staffing through extra hours, overtime and additional resources starting Friday evening and continuing through Monday morning. Staffing will be increased 25-30 percent through the weekend. Additional supervisors and support staff will be on duty and senior management will be onsite.
  • 311 is working closely with NYCEM and relevant agencies to ensure the most current and complete storm related information is available.
  • Information and status updates are available at 311 Online, by texting 311-NYC (311-692), the 311 Mobile App, and @NYC311 on Twitter. 311 is available 24 hours a day and provides translation services for up to 180 languages.


  • Issued weather advisory order to owners and industry lists today (including contractors and crane operators) to prepare for the weekend storm.
  • Provided information to construction professionals on how to secure their properties.
  • Will be conducting spot inspections throughout the City, and issuing violations and Stop Work Orders when necessary over the coming days.
  • Is requiring tower crane engineers to alert the Department once their unit has been properly secured, and conducting follow up inspections.
  • Sharing information on best practices on safeguarding properties and construction sites on social media.


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


  • The Department of Education is cancelling all DOE events for Saturday and Sunday. Updates will be communicated directly to schools and families and guidance will be posted on the DOE website.


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