NEW YORK -- The Northeast is bracing for winter’s last hurrah -- a blizzard expected to sweep the New York region starting Monday with possibly the season’s biggest snowstorm dumping up to 18 inches on Central Park.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard watch Sunday for coastal regions including New York City and surrounding areas of Long Island, Westchester County and Connecticut.
A winter storm watch was in effect for a larger area of the Northeast: New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England.
In New York City, forecasters said the first snow is expected late Monday or just after midnight Tuesday, with up to 4 inches falling by dawn. Heavy snow the rest of the day could pile 10 to 14 inches more of white stuff, with sustained winds of about 30 mph and wind gusts of up to 50 mph.
“This would certainly be the biggest snowstorm of the 2017 winter season in New York City,” said Faye Barthold, a weather service meteorologist based on Long Island.
On Long Island, a snowfall of 12 to 18 inches was forecast along with equally strong winds and visibility of a quarter mile or less.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that the New York State Emergency Operations Center will be activated Monday evening, with stockpiles of sandbags, generators and pumps at the ready.
The state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is expected to deploy several emergency vehicles in Suffolk County and the Mid-Hudson Valley, with additional vehicles on standby in case additional assistance is needed, CBS New York reports. Up to 1,800 plows are also being deployed across the state, with 443,000 tons of rock salt on hand to protect roads from dangerous winter conditions.
Other areas, including the lower Hudson Valley and northeastern New Jersey, also could get 12 to 18 inches of snow. But those areas were not under a blizzard watch because high winds and low visibility were not expected.
The severe weather would arrive just a week after the region saw temperatures climb into the 60s. Sunny days and T-shirt-wearing temperatures made it seem like winter had made an early exit. But the chilly weather and snow some areas got Friday may prove to be just a teaser.