By Mike Schneider
You could see it on the roads and at the train stations. People knew that trouble was coming.
“It is a serious blizzard. It should not be taken lightly and it could affect health and safety. The blizzard brings with it very high winds, gusts up to 55 mph and that’s what makes the situation dangerous and difficult from our point of view,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“This is my sixth winter as governor. I’ve had double digits, states of emergencies imposed, for snow. We’ve had Hurricane Irene, we’ve had Hurricane Sandy. For better or for worse we know how to deal with these situations,” said Gov. Chris Christie.
The warnings carried those echoes of Hurricane Sandy. Convincing motorists to top off their tanks just in case the power goes out and convincing merchants to prepare for the very worst.
“I stay in the hotel tonight,” said a business owner. “I lose the power, I have to close the store, the business.”
Whether he is worried about that he said, “Yes. Correct.”
Nearby a tow truck driver pauses while delivering a new power generator to his home town in Connecticut and preparing for a lot more work after that.
“Trucks are going to be crashing. We’re going to be pulling motorists out,” said a driver.
Connecticut’s Gov. Dan Malloy ordered all state roads close at 9 p.m. Gov. Cuomo issued a similar order for Long Island starting at 11 p.m.
Gov. Christie says you really don’t need to state an order to make it clear — you shouldn’t go out.
“Please stay off the roads. It’s not only for your own safety, it’s for the operation of the state. For us to be able to have the state be as fully operational as can be on Wednesday and for the rest of the week,” said Christie.
Train service is now in the process of being dramatically scaled back.
“By 7, 8 o’clock the expression is they want to start to put the trains away. They want to put the subway cars in a place where they are not going to be hurt by the snow so they’ll be available quickly,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo says Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road are slated to stop service at 11 p.m. PATH services move to a weekend schedule at 9 p.m.
Gov. Christie says he expects NJ Transit trains to halt around 10 p.m. tonight and not to resume for the next day or so. And Amtrak has cancellations in the works too.
“We are accommodating the passengers who are on trains that are being canceled or reservations being changed. We’re moving those passengers to other trains so they’re able to continue on their way,” said an Amtrak representative.
The airlines have canceled thousand of flights into and out of the New York/New Jersey airports.
But for most people, far shorter trips were the order of the day. To the store for snow removal supplies or to stock up on food and water just in case.
“This is not a storm to take lightly and we’re taking what we believe are prudent measures,” said Cuomo.
Prudent considering that this may be the kind of storm that we’ve never seen before.