Press Release

For Immediate Release


Winter Storm Watch in effect from 7 p.m. Saturday through 7 a.m. Sunday

February 16, 2018 – The New York City Emergency Management Department today issued a hazardous travel advisory for Saturday evening through Sunday morning, February 18, 2018. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for New York City in effect from 7 p.m. Saturday through 7 a.m. Sunday. Snow is predicted to begin around 7 p.m. Saturday, with the heaviest snow expected to fall overnight through early Sunday morning. Snow is expected to end around sunrise. A total of 4 to 6 inches of snow is forecast, with locally higher amounts possible.

A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may cause difficult travel conditions. New Yorkers should prepare for snow covered roads and limited visibility. Commuters are advised to use mass transit where possible, and exercise caution when driving, walking or biking.

“With snow expected, slippery roads may make travel difficult this weekend,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “Give yourself some extra travel time and use caution while you’re out on Saturday night and Sunday morning.”

Department of Sanitation

  • The NYC Department of Sanitation is pre-deploying 693 salt spreaders. PlowNYC will be activated and 1500 plows will be dispatched when more than two inches of snow accumulates, with additional plows available if necessary.
  • DSNY will assign 2,300 workers per shift. Workers will be assigned to 12-hour shifts beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.
  • Normal garbage/recycling collections will occur on Saturday.

Department of Transportation

  • DOT’s Bridges Division will pre-deploy crews to East River Bridges.
  • Crews will pre-treat and monitor Municipal Parking lots, and will address conditions
  • needed.
  • DOT’s Arterial, Parking and Citywide Concrete Units, will pre-treat and monitor pedestrian overpasses, muni lots and step streets.
  • DOT’s Ferry Division will pre-treat and clear walkways at the ferry terminal. Ferry passengers are advised to allow extra time for travel.
  • Crews from JC Decaux are pre-treating bus shelters.
  • DOT will monitor conditions on the citywide Transportation network at the Joint Transportation Management Center with State DOT and NYPD, and coordinate efforts to address any issues.
Department of Social Services

A Code Blue Weather Emergency notice is issued when the temperature is forecast to drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., including National Weather Service calculations for wind chill values.  No one who is homeless and seeking shelter in New York City during a Code Blue will be denied. Should you see an individual who appears to be homeless and in need out in the cold, please call 311 and an outreach team will be dispatched to offer assistance. During Code Blue Weather emergencies, experienced outreach teams work to connect homeless New Yorkers with the following resources:
  • Shelters: During a Code Blue, shelter is available system-wide to accommodate anyone who is reasonably believed to be homeless and is brought to a shelter by outreach teams. Accommodations are also available for walk-ins.
  • Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24-hours per day, including when Code Blue procedures are in effect, and will assist as many people as possible for the duration of the emergency. Drop-in staff and the dedicated outreach teams they work closely with each and every day can also make arrangements for homeless individuals at other citywide facilities.
  • Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless individuals may be transported directly to these low-threshold housing programs.
  • Street homeless outreach: Teams will contact vulnerable individuals on their Code Blue Priority Lists a minimum of once every four (4) hours beginning at 8 p.m. during Code Blue Alerts and once every two (2) hours beginning at 8 p.m. for Enhanced Code Blue Alerts to encourage them to accept services, including transportation to a shelter placement. DSS coordinates borough-level Code Blue efforts directly with partner City agencies, including but not limited to NYPD, DSNY, and the Parks Department.

Department of Buildings

DOB issued a weather advisory reminding property owners, contractors and crane operators to take precautionary measures and secure their construction sites, buildings, and equipment during this weekend’s winter weather. If sites are not secured, the Department will take enforcement action - issuing violations and stop-work orders, where necessary. DOB is reminding all construction contractors and property owners to secure their work sites and buildings in advance of the inclement weather.

To safeguard construction sites, builders, contractors, and developers should take all precautionary measures including but not limited to the following:

  • Tie down and secure material and loose debris at construction sites.
  • Cover electrical equipment from exposure to the weather.
  • Secure netting, scaffolding, and sidewalk sheds.
  • Clear icicles and vulnerable snow masses from sidewalk sheds, and supported and suspended scaffolds.
  • Clear roofs, overhangs and gutters of melting snow and ice.
  • Brace and secure construction fences.         
  • Call 911 if there is an emergency on a construction site.

To secure a building, property owners should take all precautionary measures including but not limited to the following:

  • Bring inside loose, lightweight objects such as lawn furniture, potted plants, garbage cans, garden tools, and toys.
  • Anchor objects that would be unsafe outside, such as gas grills or propane tanks.
  • Secure and clear roofs, awnings, umbrellas and overhangs of melting snow and ice.
  • Ensure gutters are clear of debris to allow drainage.
  • Secure retractable awnings.

Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Residential building owners are legally required to maintain indoor temperatures at 68 degrees when it falls below 55 degrees outside during the day, and a minimum of 62 degrees indoors overnight, regardless of outdoor temperatures. If an apartment lacks appropriate heat, a tenant should first attempt to notify the building owner, managing agent or superintendent. If heat is not restored, the tenant should register an official complaint via 311. Tenants can call 311, visit 311 online at, or use the app 311Mobile (on Android and iOS devices) to file a complaint. Hearing-impaired tenants can register complaints via a Touchtone Device for the Deaf TDD at (212) 504-4115.

Winter Storm Safety Tips

For Motorists

  • Use mass transit where possible. If you have to drive, drive slowly. Vehicles take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles may make it easier to drive on snow-covered roads, but they do not stop quicker than other vehicles.
  • Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible.
  • Know your vehicle’s braking system. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes require a different braking technique than vehicles without anti-lock brakes in snowy conditions.
  • If you are driving and begin to skid, ease your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. Straighten the wheel when the car moves in the desired direction. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply steady pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump the brakes on an ABS equipped vehicle.
  • Try to keep your vehicle’s gas tank as full as possible.
  • Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck.

For Pedestrians

  • Exercise caution and avoid slippery surfaces; some ice may not be visible. Wear sturdy boots that provide traction to reduce slipping. Use handrails when using stairs.
  • Seniors should take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls.
  • Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.
  • If you have to go outdoors, wear dry, warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered. Wear a hat, hood, scarf, and gloves.
  • Shivering is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Shivering is a signal to return indoors.
  • Be careful when shoveling snow. Follow your doctor’s advice if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart.
  • Be safe at work. Workers who spend a lot of time outdoors are at risk for cold-related health impacts. If you are an employer, implement safe work practices, provide appropriate protective equipment, and train workers on how to stay safe during cold and winter weather.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Drinking alcohol may make you feel warmer but it causes your body to lose heat faster. Alcohol also impairs your judgment which limits your ability to take appropriate precautions or remove yourself from a dangerously cold environment in time. As a result, alcohol actually increases your chances of hypothermia and frostbite.

For more information, visit New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency communications program. To sign up for Notify NYC, download the free mobile application, visit, call 311, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.


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