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Winter Storm Niko hits NYC: what you need to know

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Prepare for nearly a foot of snow

lazyllama / Shutterstock, Inc.

Brace yourselves, New Yorkers: the weather’s about to get really weird. Despite yesterday’s sun and moderate temperatures, the city is getting snow—and lots of it. According to the NYC Office of Emergency Management, anywhere from six to 12 inches of powder will be dumped on the city through the rest of the day. (The Weather Channel, doing what it does, has already christened the brewing storm Winter Storm Niko.)

Temperatures are also expected to drop below freezing and stay there through Friday, with wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour at points. “This is a very serious snowstorm,” Mayor de Blasio said on 1010 Wins yesterday. “We have to be ready for it.”

NYC OEM has already declared a hazardous travel advisory—city dwellers should use caution when getting around, and per a statement from OEM commissioner Joseph Esposito, “should be prepared for snowfall and slippery roads and plan to take mass transit where possible.”

What that means for today’s commute: it’s going to suck. Long Island Rail Road trains are already delayed, and there will almost certainly be problems with the subways and buses, LIRR, and Metro-North. Each of the MTA’s transit options has its own Twitter account for real-time alerts, but you can also keep an eye on the MTA’s website for updates.

As for other transportation things to keep an eye on, Citi Bike is out of service today, and alternate side parking rules have been suspended in anticipation of the storm.

The Department of Sanitation, meanwhile, is preparing for the worst, with 689 salt spreaders and 1,600 plows ready for operation.

The Port Authority also issued its own statement regarding how the storm might affect NYC’s airports, along with bridges and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. As of this morning, thousands of flights out of LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark Airports were already canceled:

With a storm of this magnitude, airlines sometimes cancel flights in advance, so travelers should check with their carriers to make sure their flight will be taking off before going to the airport. If warranted, the Port Authority also has supplies of cots and other essential items ready to accommodate ticketed passengers who may become stranded at the airports.

The Port Authority also urges bus travelers to check with their carriers before going to the bus terminals since many public and private carriers may cancel or delay service if conditions warrant. The agency also may impose speed restrictions on its crossings, or close them entirely based on weather conditions.

TL;DR, this storm is going to be bad, so be prepared. We’ll add to this article as more updates on the storm are issued.

UPDATE: The storm has already grounded flights throughout the NYC area.

New York City public schools will be closed and after school programs have been cancelled.

And just in case you weren’t sure, the city park most exposed to the elements is closed today.