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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019
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That "crippling and potentially historic” storm turned out to be neither of those things

Mayor De Blasio is insisting his dire warnings were a “no-brainer”… The storm is having in impact further north, however.

Cots line a hallway where stranded travelers slept at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Source: AP/Press Association Images

NEW YORK AUTHORITIES and meteorologists have been defending a decision to shut down America’s biggest city for a storm that skirted the Big Apple, dumping the worst snow east and north.

Travel bans were lifted yesterday, public transport resumed and parks reopened in the city of eight million people, easing many of the measures put in place as WinterStorm Juno moved in on Monday.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city got only a fraction of the two feet (60 centimetres) of snow that had been widely predicted in the 48 hours leading up to the storm.

“You plan the best you can and you lean toward safety,” said New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo, fending off a barrage of questions.

It may actually have brought us back to full operating capacity sooner but I do not criticise weather forecasters. I learn.

The clean-up will continue until tomorrow, when schools will reopen, and city and state employees will return to work.

Stark warnings

Source: Adgoy Ness/YouTube

De Blasio, who repeatedly warned before the storm struck that it was likely to be one of the worst in the city’s history, fended off accusations that he had been needlessly alarmist.

“To me, it was a no-brainer. We had to take precautions to keep people safe. God forbid this storm had not moved east, we would then have been hit,” he said.

Had travel not been banned, city residents would have been in possible mortal danger, and any economic impact would have been far more negative had there been more destruction, he said.

We are going to be very forceful in our messages to people when we sense danger.

The director of the National Weather Service later apologised for not better outlining the forecast uncertainty and said procedure would be reviewed.

“We need to make these uncertainties clear for decision makers to assess the risk, take action or do nothing knowing the level of uncertainty with each forecast,” said Louis Uccellini.

The Service said more than 30 inches (76 cm) fell in parts of Massachusetts, where the state capital Boston received more than 20 inches.

It warned that life-threatening conditions persist along the coast from Long Island in New York, into New England to the north.

Cars are buried by drifted snow along Marlborough Street in Boston. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Winter Weather A police officer questions the driver of a car that ended up on top of a tall snowbank in the middle of Commercial Street during a blizzard in Portland, Maine Source: AP/Press Association Images

On the streets of Manhattan, there were mixed feelings about whether the authorities had over-reacted.

“This is a mere dusting and I’ve been here for my whole life, with a little bit in London, and this is ridiculous, when they call it a storm,” said financial consultant Curtis Brill.

“People do have to be cautious and ice and driving do not mix, so it’s better to take precautions and not have accidents,” said Jennifer Daly, who works on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Around 5,300 flights within, to and from the United States were cancelled as a result of the weather, according to flightaware.com.

Most Ireland-US flights are going ahead as planned today, although the 11am Delta service from Dublin to New York has been cancelled. A number of incoming flights have also been cancelled.

© AFP 2015 with reporting by Daragh Brophy.

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