Watch CBS News

New York City Digs Out After Near-Record Snowstorm

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York City residents are digging out of the snow Sunday after a mammoth blizzard.

Officials say the 26.8 inches of snow that fell in Central Park is the second-most recorded since 1869.

CHECK: Latest | Radar | Forecast & Alerts | Follow Live: Blizzard BlogCold Weather Safety Guide | Traffic/Transit Guide | | Schools | Check Plow Progress

The National Weather Service announced the new snowfall total just after midnight Sunday. That narrowly misses tying the previous record of 26.9 inches from February 2006.

Snow stopped falling in the city shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday night. There were 31.3 inches on Staten Island, and 30.5 inches at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

"This one is a cautionary tale to all of us, a storm that the day before on Friday was still being projected at 8 to 12 inches ends up coming in close to 27 inches when all was said and done," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. "So it is an example to us that we have to be prepared for storms that move very fast, that evolve very rapidly and that can end up being a lot bigger than originally predicted."

There were three deaths in the city reported from shoveling snow – one on Staten Island and two in Queens.

A travel ban to keep non-emergency workers off the roads was lifted at 7 a.m., and MTA bus service was restored and Port Authority bridges and tunnels reopened then, too.

While the travel ban has been lifted, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday asked that residents limit themselves to essential travel.

"If you do not need to be on the roads, you shouldn't be on the roads," he said. "There are still spots of black ice."

That sentiment was echoed by de Blasio, who also announced alternate-side parking rules have been suspended for the week.

"Leave your car where it is," the mayor said. "Don't try to shovel it out today, unless you have an emergency or something truly urgent. Leave your car where it is. We're expecting warmer temperatures through the week. Mother Nature brought us the snow; let Mother Nature melt the snow, and get out of the way. But what we do not want is for New Yorkers to start shoveling out their cars and putting all the snow in the middle of the street. That is only going to make things worse. It's going to make it harder on Sanitation to clear the streets. It's going to make it harder on our emergency vehicles."

Inbound Metro-North trains began running at 12:30 p.m., and trains leaving Grand Central Terminal will depart starting at 3 p.m., Cuomo said. Long Island Rail Road and NJ TRANSIT rail service was still suspended Sunday morning.

Many Long Island Rail Road yards were still buried in snow Sunday morning and tracks were impeded by stranded trains in some spots.

The Port Washington, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma, Huntington, Babylon and Greenport branches will be back in operation effective at 5 a.m. Monday, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Most above-ground MTA subway lines were back online.

Some airlines were restarting limited service at New York-area airports.

PHOTOS: Tri-State Digs Out From 2016 Blizzard | Blizzard Strikes Tri-State Area | Your Photos

The Sanitation Department plowed all streets at least once and was focusing on clearing secondary and tertiary streets Sunday, city officials said. Workers are operation on two 12-hour shifts, with 2,300 employees per shift.

De Blasio applauded their efforts, but admitted there were some problem areas, notably in Queens.

"I will say I want to see more in Queens, in particular," the mayor said. "I'm certainly not satisfied with the condition of some of the roads and some of our neighborhoods in Queens."

He mentioned several specific neighborhoods.

"We have real issues that we're still working in in Corona and East Elmhurst, and Sunnyside and Woodside, so we're bringing a lot of our equipment out of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx over to Queens to keep pumping up the effort here. We've got 850 plows now focused on Queens," the mayor told WCBS 880.

Problems also have been reported in College Point, and a Twitter user in Woodhaven posted a photo of snow-covered 83rd Avenue.

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, it was also difficult to maneuver around side streets in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, with lots of snow and nowhere to put it. Some of the streets were just plowed for the first time Sunday evening, and residents said the delay was unacceptable.

Some Bronx residents also frustrated residents want to know why Mayor Bill de Blasio isn't paying more attention to their borough.

"This is a total disgrace," said Frank Libal. "Now he has a thing for the boroughs -- don't ask me why he does this."

Some Staten Island residents, too, have complained that the plows have been slow to reach them, including in Castleton Corners.

A woman from Astoria, Queens, told WCBS 880's Ginny Kosola she was impressed to see main roads in her neighborhood were passable.

"We're able to walk around, and just have to shovel out cars where the plower piled them up, but they did a nice job," she said.

Another woman, who grew up in Lithuania, said Saturday's storm was nothing. She said she had already dug out her car, helped other people and was headed to help another friend.

"I'm OK," she said. "We used to. I grow up to neck with snow."

Meanwhile, de Blasio said schools will open Monday.

He urged teachers to find a way to get into work on Monday morning.

"It's very tough. I'm not going to lie. Again, it's one of the worst snowstorms in our history. There's a lot of snow all over the place," he said. "What I say to our teachers is you can use mass transit. You can carpool. I would really strongly suggest you use one of those alternatives. Obviously, parents – many, many parents – are going to work tomorrow. They don't have a choice about that. So it's really important that we get school up and running tomorrow."

The lights came back on on Broadway Sunday.

The Broadway League had canceled all Saturday shows due to the blizzard.

In a statement Sunday, the group said matinee and evening shows would go on as scheduled.

"'The show must go on,' especially for the large percentage of our audience who come in from out of town to see a Broadway show and we don't want to disappoint them," said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. "As always, the safety and security of theatergoers and employees is everyone's primary concern."

Cabs were back on the road Sunday in Queens, and Samir was able to reopen Eli's Deli in Astoria, WCBS 880's Ginny Kosola reported.

"The road is clean, so then I come to work and I found a cab, then I said to cab driver to bring me here," Samir said.

The snow that fell on buildings in New York City during the blizzard Saturday was melting a day later.

There were also worries Sunday about falling ice, after all the snow that fell onto buildings and began melting. WCBS 880's Steve Scott reported that ice was falling from one building on Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan, and yellow tape was put up to keep people off the sidewalk.

People actually walked out in the street to get around the yellow tape, Scott reported. He reported the falling chunks of ice were the size of dinner plates.

And kids rushed out to go sledding Sunday, 1010 WINS' Roger Stern reported.

"I wanted to go out, but yesterday was the snowstorm," an 8-year-old girl who was enjoying the hills at Crotona Park in the Bronx. She was told to "'wait until tomorrow,' and today's tomorrow," she said.

David, 10, said sledding "is really fun. He added, "Sometimes the snow gets inside of my clothes," which he said he likes because "it's really refreshing."

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.