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An impending blizzard sent Queens into a frenzy as officials braced for the more significant storms since Hurricane Sandy.
By Friday afternoon, public transit made changes to various routes, all city after-school programs were canceled, and gas lines were building as they had in Sandy’s aftermath late last year.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the storm, dubbed “Nemo,” across the city’s five boroughs through 1 p.m. Saturday with predictions of heavy rain, 20 to 30 mile-per-hour winds, and 10 to 15 inches of snowfall. A coastal flood watch was also put into effect for Friday night in areas near the shorelines in the Bronx and Queens with waves potentially as high as 25 feet and the storm surge ranging from three to five feet, the weather service said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced various revisions to its scheduled service throughout the weekend, with eight extra Long Island Rail Road trains added early Friday afternoon to help straphangers return home. But come Friday evening, some MTA trains will likely be canceled, the group said.
The extra service will run between 2:09 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. with extra trains on the Babylon, Port Jefferson, Port Washington, and Far Rockaway branches, the MTA said. One train on the Port Jefferson line will also begin at Jamaica instead of Huntington, the MTA said.
Extra trains were scheduled for the Metro-North Railroad in the early afternoon so that reduced service could proceed by the evening, the MTA said.
Additionally, city subways and buses may need to adjust routes to strictly indoor and underground routes, with some lines ending service earlier than normal, the MTA said.
In anticipation of the storm, Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a severe weather advisory for the city Thursday and canceled all after-school programs Friday.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said the snow removal for seniors program was also ready to hit the pavement this weekend with volunteers of all ages preparing to shovel out the most vulnerable residents of northeast Queens.
The news of another storm sent some parts of the northeast into a preparation panic, according to one Queens lawmaker, who reported gas lines building in parts of the borough and on Long Island.
“Memories of Sandy. Deja-fuel,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Hauppauge) on his Twitter page, confirming reports that some gas stations in the area were running dry on gasoline — and fast.
In the wake of the devastating Hurricane Sandy late last year, fuel was at a premium as residents throughout the Northeast, including Queens, went days, weeks and, in some cases, months without power.
And in an attempt to prevent history from repeating itself, the Long Island Power Authority was given a boost for the incoming blizzard after Gov. Andrew Cuomo told upstate power utility National Grid to provide support with extra crews and equipment.
LIPA, which serves Long Island and parts of Queens, including the Rockaways, received much criticism for its handling of power outages in Sandy’s wake, leading to Cuomo’s proposal to dismantle the agency.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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