Gov. Cuomo echoed those concerns, warning commuters to stay home Monday in a statement made Sunday as the monstrous storm tracked an unfamiliar route across the Midwest.
“As a result, roads including the Thruway, I-84 and the Long Island Expressway, and public transit networks including the LIRR, PATH, Metro-North Railroad, and MTA subways and buses, may be closed ahead of the evening commute,” Cuomo announced Sunday night.
De Blasio, flanked by sanitation honchos at a department garage along the Hudson River, also warned New Yorkers to stay indoors and off “treacherous” city roads starting Monday.
“Now is the time to get ready for this extreme weather,” de Blasio added. “Don’t underestimate this storm. Even walking should be kept to a minimum.”
Schools will be open Monday, but after-school programs were preemptively canceled. School will likely be closed Tuesday.
The prior all-time snow record for Jan. 26, 2011, when 12.3 inches fell, followed the next day by another 6.7 inches, records show. The city’s all time record occurred Feb. 11-12, 2006, when New York was blanketed with 26.9 inches, according to city officials.
Records were made to be broken.
“We are already forecasting more than that,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pollina. “It is a potentially historic storm.”
Snow and rain were expected to start early Monday in New York. Snow is expected to taper off late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, meteorologists said.
The city plans to dispatch nearly 500 salt spreaders ahead of that snowfall, according to de Blasio. There will be 2,100 snowplows deployed on city streets after the first two inches of snow. Another 4,200 plows from independent contractors are ready to be dispatched, he added.
The Transportation and Sanitation departments have also hired additional day laborers for shoveling.
The storm is expected to increase in severity after 6 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
Roughly 1,700 flights at have been canceled Monday – most flying in and out of Newark, JFK and LaGuardia – and another 1,500 have already been scratched for Tuesday, according to FlightAware.com.
“The evening rush hour is going to be a huge problem,” Hizzoner said.
As a precaution, the city Office of Emergency Management called the National Guard for support for emergency vehicles, said agency commissioner Joseph Esposito.
The Parks Department also urged New Yorkers to avoid using parks until Wednesday morning to avoid falling branches and icy paths.
How bad New York could get pummeled is contingent on the storm’s path through the Northeast.
The slow-moving system is expected to produce blizzard conditions — at least three hours of wind gusts of 35 mph or greater and visibility of less than a quarter of a mile because of snow.
But the storm could stall before it tracks out to sea, according to the National Weather Service.
On Sunday, New Yorkers weren’t taking any chances, buying shovels, salt and ice scrapers.
“We keep on restocking the shelf all the time,” said Nick Mohabir, 42, assistant manager of Bruno’s Home Center in Downtown Brooklyn.
The crowd arrived as soon as the store at 85 Court St. opened at 10 a.m., he said. “Everybody right now is coming in,” he said Sunday afternoon. “The last storm we had two days ago we barely sold anything but today people are going crazy. They are afraid of the storm.”
Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia urged drivers to stay off the roads to allow snowplows to do their job.
“This is going to be an incredibly difficult storm for us to fight,” she said.
De Blasio suggested New Yorkers leave work as soon as possible on Monday before the snow begins to fall.
The mayor cautioned: “Prepare for the worst and we will get through this together.”