NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City issued a snow alert on Monday night, causing another headache for restaurant owners before a storm is expected to bring heavy snow to the Tri-State on Wednesday.
New York City could see anywhere from 8.6 to 12.5 inches of accumulation. The more aggressive model shows areas north and west of the city getting closer to 2 feet.
Snow is expected to start Wednesday evening, with the heaviest snowfall overnight. It should taper off Thursday morning.
Strong winds may also lead to blizzard-like conditions and power outages.
Preparations for the snow are already underway. And in New York City, keeping the roads clear is even more of a challenge this year because of outdoor dining structures.
Now that the city has issued a snow alert, roadway dining is suspended at 2 p.m. Wednesday for at least 24 hours, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.
- Secure or remove outdoor seating.
- Regularly remove snow from overhead coverings.
- Bring electrical heaters inside.
"Because we have such powerful electric heaters out there, we have to bring in an electrician to dismantle it," said restaurant owner Jacob Poznak.
Acting Department of Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson says his crews are gearing up for a big one.
"The men and woman of the Sanitation Department are coming. Every street is on a route and our mission is to complete all our routes," Grayson told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez.
Watch Hazel Sanchez's Report:
The city has 300,000 tons of salt on hand. More than 700 salt spreaders and 1,300 plows will be on the roads around the clock, from the first flak to fall until all streets are passable.
But outdoor dining setups are creating new obstacles. During the fall, all 6,300 sanitation workers received snow training. Plow drivers did practice runs on their routes to make sure the plows can fit, or if smaller equipment is needed.
In some cases, they had to consult with the restaurants.
"We went and actually spoke to the restaurant owner, provided some information. Tried to give them a picture of what we were talking about. to make them understand why we may need them consolidate their set up a little bit in order to be better prepared," Grayson said.
"We typically push the snow towards the right and the right of way of travel into what would be the parking lane. We now have a structure there," Grayson said.
If more than a foot of snow is forecasted, the city could require some outside dining setups to be removed or made smaller for plows.
"When we expect major snow, it's in everybody's best interest to clear away as much of their equipment as possible to facilitate the snow cleaning and protect their equipment," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The city plans to issue more guidance on Tuesday if any restaurants need to remove outdoor dining space.
"Look how strong this is. It's like a house," said Costas Maroullitis, owner of La Boubonniere in the West Village. He spent $30,000 to build his outdoor dining space. He says he'll do everything to keep it clear of snow to save his livelihood.
"You have to take it down? Why? It kill all the business," he said.
"It would kill your business?" Sanchez asked.
"Everybody. We have no way to make money," he said.
New York City public schools are also planning for the storm. The Department of Education says if bad weather prevents in-person learning, all students will go fully remote.
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