New York City Suspends Outdoor Subway Service, In-Person School During Heaviest Blizzard Since 2016

New York City has suspended subway service to all outdoor stations and set a fully remote day of school for Tuesday due to the worst blizzard to hit the area since 2016.

More than a foot of snow had fallen across the Tri-State area as dusk approached. The slow-moving storm is expected to finally let up early Tuesday, with forecasters estimating as much as two feet could pile up in some parts of the region. Commuter rail services have also shuttered.

Government officials have said they will consider a full subway shutdown if conditions deteriorate. In 2015, they drew criticism for halting subway service in advance of a storm that turned out to be a fairly minor event. A year later, in 2016, the city got its biggest snowfall since record-keeping began in 1869, with 27.5 inches in Central Park.

While it is always a surreal sight to see an empty Times Square or Broadway without cars, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has kept the cityscape sparse for much of the past year. Fewer than 20% of New York office workers have returned to their workplaces and many businesses based in the city are rethinking their physical setups. Some Wall Street banks have ordered workers to return, with safety protocols in place, while tech firms and others have issued more open-ended guidance enabling employees to continue working remotely.

Streets have been restricted to emergency use, and fleets of plows have been trying to keep up with accumulations of as many as two inches an hour. No widespread blackouts or other issues have been reported. Residents had days of warning about the storm, which brought snow and ice to a large swath of the U.S.

“Even with our New York toughness and smartness and unity, it’s still dangerous out there,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press briefing.

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