Tania Savayan/The Journal News via USA TODAY NETWORK

Season's first snowstorm causes utter chaos across area

November 16, 2018 - 8:47 am
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The first snowstorm of the season brought the region to a screeching halt.

And there were still problems Friday morning.

NJ Transit riders were again experiencing delays for the Friday morning commute because of slick roads and a shortage of drivers.

 

Many commuters were furious wondering why officials weren't prepared for the storm.

NYC DOT commissioner Kathryn Garcia told 1010 WINS on Friday morning that, "If we can't move we can't work. We were stuck in that particular perfect storm for many, many hours."

"This was clearly higher than anticipated," Garcia added.

Oh and Friday is a gridlock alert day.

Thursday nightmare:

People were stranded on roads for several hours, and the Port Authority Bust Terminal turned into utter bedlam when two floors were shut down during the height of the evening rush.

"Due to overcrowding conditions at The PA Bus Term, Hoboken riders may use NJ Transit Rail and PATH as an alternate mode of transportation," the terminal tweeted. 

The snow arrived following the issuance by the National Weather Service of a Winter Weather Advisory for the city until 10 p.m. 

Six inches of snow fell in Central Park, according to AccuWeather.

Initially, the forecast called for 1 to three inches in New York City, as well as New Jersey and the Hudson Valley. But Central Park saw six inches.

Some drivers woke up in their cars Friday morning after being stuck overnight on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx. Accidents on the George Washington Bridge halted traffic on the crossing and led to backups in New York and New Jersey.

Special needs students were stuck on a school bus in NYC for several hours with no food and no bathroom.

New York Council Member Ben Kallos issued a statement saying: These children left their school in Manhattan shortly after 2PM and didn’t make it home in the Bronx until well after midnight the following day, more than 10 hours later. Five children had to spend more than 10 hours without a bathroom, 10 hours without a meal, 10 hours stuck on a bus. We should not need emergency services to rescue our children from school buses. Parents should not spend hours panicking without knowing where their children are.When buses get stranded, we as a city should take proactive steps to get kids home at the first sign of delay, not wait several hours or into the next day.

And Some students in West Orange, New Jersey, were forced to sleep at their schools after their buses turned back, while others were taken to a diner to eat because snow-covered roads were clogged with traffic.

"Students are safe in their schools with teachers and staff. They have eaten dinner and are preparing to get some rest," a district alert said.

So what happened?

Mayor Bill de Blasio told 1010 WINS that city was prepared for the snow but the timing of the storm is what caused the traffic issues.  

When Mayor de Blasio was asked about who should be held accountable for the nightmare commute he said, "Most New Yorkers are less interested in pointing the figure of blame and more interested on how we fix the situation and move forward."

Assemblywoman Nicole Maliotakis called the city's response, “An utter failure.” She told 1010 WINS that the Mayor and Commissioner were not prepared for the blast of winter.

Additional NYC Department of Sanitation workers were added Thursday morning ahead of the storm, Garcia told 1010 WINS.

Traffic, however, was making clean-up problematic, Garcia said.

On Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who opened the Office of Emergency Management, told 1010 WINS, "This is a heck of a storm." He said accidents had ocurred on I-280 and I-78.

On Friday, Murphy said what happened at Port Authority is being investigated ad called it "unacceptable."

North Jersey turned into the world's largest parking lot, 1010 WINS' John Montone reported. The state police reported more than 550 accidents and thousands of drivers sat in their cars for hours.

One of them called a radio station to vent.

Former NJ Gov. Chris Christie, wasn't too happy about the storm and said he was in his car for more than 4 hours. 

 

The wet weather continued early Friday, with periods of rain in the city and some flurries in the suburbs.

Skies will clear up for Saturday, when it will be partly sunny with temps in the upper 40s.