New York has declared a state of emergency after a massive snowstorm hit the state, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The emergency was declared on Monday for New York City, Long Island and seven counties in Hudson Valley, reports Xinhua news agency.
In a statement, Governor Cuomo said: “This storm is no joke and the main concern right now is that the expected snowfall rate of two inches per hour this afternoon creates an extremely dangerous situation on our roadways.
“When snow is falling that quickly, it makes it very difficult for plows to keep up with it. I want New Yorkers to hear me loud and clear — stay home and off the roads and if you must travel, get where you’re going before noon, and expect to remain home for some time. We’ve been through this before and we will get through it again,” Cuomo said.
He added that aboveground subway service as well as service on portions of the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North could be significantly delayed or stopped.
A number of major roadways could also face travel bans if snowfall rates reach the expected two to three inches per hour, and New Yorkers were urged to avoid all unnecessary travel.
New York City, Long Island and Mid-Hudson Regions could see up to two feet of snowfall by Tuesday morning, said the statement.
Meanwhile, vaccine appointments at five mass vaccination centres and six pop-up sites slated for Monday would be rescheduled for later this week, the New York State government said in a release.
The storm is expected to be a long-duration event with snow spreading northward and continuing for some places through Wednesday morning, especially parts of the North Country, Southern Tier and Central New York, according to the release.
Snowfall rates were expected to increase to one to three inches per hour as the storm progresses northward.
Wind gusts could reach 50 miles per hour or more on Long Island, especially eastern Long Island where 60 mph wind gusts could occur, while many places upstate could see up to 40 mph wind gusts, said the release.
New York City also suspended its Open Restaurant Program and Open Street Program on Monday as heavy snow makes it hard to serve customers on sidewalk space.
All public schools in New York City have been subject to all-remote learning mode.
New York City, northeast New Jersey, Lower Hudson Valley, much of Nassau county and part of southwest Connecticut would have 18 to 24 inches of snowfall, according to a forecast by the National Weather Service.