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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live on NY1

February 9, 2017

Pat Kiernan: We do have school kids at home today. New York City public schools are off on a snow day. They did not have a snow day last year. They did have one in 2015. Mayor de Blasio made that decision to shut public schools in about 5:30 yesterday afternoon as the forecast became clearer. In that tweet, he said, due to expected significant snowfall, all New York City public schools will be closed. This is the seventh closure in the past six years for schools. The Mayor joins us now by telephone to talk about that and the snowstorm itself. Mr. Mayor, good morning. What have you been seeing so far in terms of snowfall and the response? 

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, Pat. Well, what we’re seeing right now is it's hitting pretty hard. We’re looking at – I just talked to our Sanitation Commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, and what we’re seeing at around the city is accumulation is coming on about one or two inches per hour now, but what we’re worried about is that that's going to intensify, potentially, in fact, potentially as much at a really intense point at three or four inches per hour. And that's really, really tough for anyone trying to get around. I want to emphasize to all New Yorkers, stay inside if you can. Don't go out if you don't have to. If you need to go out, please don't use your car because we need to let our Sanitation Department clear the roads – they’ve been out since 3 am, you know, putting down the salt. People, generally – what Kathryn Garcia, our commissioner, says – people are generally staying off the roads and helping sanitation by doing that, but we’ve got to keep doing it because only going to get worse the next few hours. 

Kiernan: Mayor de Blasio, I’m going to make the argument that we’re not as tough as we used to be. We close schools more often than we used to. I just got a message that libraries are closed today. And I know you're going to say – you’re going to say caution is not a bad thing. 

Mayor: Well, it’s one of the things I would say, Pat, but it's not the only thing. Look, we try and make the decisions very carefully. There's been times when I’ve said we don't have enough evidence to close school, and obviously some people agreed, some people didn't. Here's what was different about this one – the reports kept coming in that we could have easily 10 inches, even as much as 14 inches – is the highest estimate we had yesterday afternoon – and that would be very fast and very concentrated. This is a problem we’ve seen before. When the snow comes in two, three, even four inches in an hour, especially if it’s anywhere near the morning rush hour, that's just debilitating, and then we’re setting ourselves up for a very bad situation all around, and it makes it very hard for Sanitation. If there’s lots of cars out there, Sanitation cannot move around and do its work. So, this one was – yeah, there’s an abundance of caution, but these numbers, these projections were particularly troubling because it was about the morning rush hour and the intensity of the snow. 

Kiernan: Yeah, and it certainly has arrived as forecast. Mayor de Blasio, thank you for joining us with the update. 

Mayor: Thank you very much, Pat. Everyone, stay warm, stay off the roads. 

Kiernan: There it is, straight from Mayor de Blasio. Thank you.

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