Heavy snow forces New York to close schools, halt flights

05:56, February 11, 2010      

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Heavy snow across New York City forced the closing of local public schools and halting of most flights on Wednesday.

Tables and chairs are covered with snow at Bryant Park in New York, the United States, Feb. 10, 2010. The second major snowstorm in less than five days howled up the East Coast from Washington to New York on Wednesday, leaving the traffic paralyzed and forcing the federal government and schools to remain closed for the third straight day. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

According to local TV channel NY1, the city announced on Tuesday the closing of all public schools for Wednesday and all after-school and Public School Athletic League events have also been suspended.

The city's Department of Education officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were cited as saying that travel conditions are expected to worsen as the day goes on.

While local airports are technically open, most flights have been canceled, and pilots and airlines are asking travelers to be patient.

Moreover, there are numerous cancellations of buses in and out of the Port Authority bus terminal, one of the major bus terminals in the city.

Up to 15 cm of snow has already fallen across the city, and a total of up to 30 cm of snow is expected across the five boroughs of the city.

Meanwhile, city and state agencies are beginning to tackle the snow removal.

All city offices will remain open. However, New York City courts will be closed except for family and criminal emergency applications.

The Office of Emergency Management and the New York City Police Department are being deployed on storm duty.

A sanitation worker blows off the snow with a snowblower in New York, the United States, Feb. 10, 2010. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

Mayor Bloomberg is reportedly urging New Yorkers to avoid driving into and around the city unless absolutely necessary. He reportedly said city residents should instead use mass transit.

Meanwhile, the city's Department of Homeless Services has issued its cold weather emergency procedure known as "Code Blue."

That means extra teams of people will be hitting the streets looking for those who are at risk for exposure deaths, frostbite, or hypothermia, says NY1.

Source: Xinhua
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