“It’s going to be a really sloppy rush hour this evening,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.
Snow began falling in the city by Monday afternoon. The National Weather Service expected a wintry mix to continue, with all the precipitation becoming snow by 8 p.m.
Temperatures were also expected to drop in the late afternoon, just in time for wet roads to begin freezing into icy slicks as many in the region head home.
Meteorologists warned that strong gusts were also possible, advising residents to expect a number of downed tree limbs and prepare for potential power outages in the region.
As of 1 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service predicted little snow to accumulate in the city during the day but a possible 2 to 4 inches at night.
A winter weather advisory is in effect across the region until 7 a.m. Tuesday, as well as a winter storm warning in more inland areas.
The National Weather Service warned of up to 10 inches of snow in parts of northeast New Jersey, southern Connecticut and southeast New York, including portions of suburban Westchester and Rockland counties.
Early in the day, the skies were spitting rain over the city and much of the surrounding area as bleary-eyed commuters headed to work and school after the long Thanksgiving weekend.
But with ample warning of the region’s first storm this winter and extensive preparation, there was relatively little drama.
In anticipation of the changing conditions, officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut urged drivers to stay off the streets, warning of a particularly messy evening commute.
New York City’s Sanitation Department dispatched hundreds of salt-spreading vehicles Sunday night and said it would be ready to plow as soon as 2 inches of snow hit the ground.
While public schools remained open, the city canceled all after-school events that would have required bus transportation. De Blasio said parents should expect that schools would be open again Tuesday but that officials planned to make a final call by Monday evening.
Asked whether he was anxious about the storm, de Blasio said, “I would say it’s hyper focus — maybe a cousin to anxiety.”
In New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy announced that government offices would close early for nonessential employees, starting at noon, as state transportation officials warned that roads would be icy and dangerous as temperatures fell.
“The snowstorm continues to intensify across our state, which will affect our roads with heavy snow and black ice,” Murphy said in a statement. “I strongly urge all travelers to use extreme caution and allow crews plenty of room to keep our roads clean and safe.”
Murphy also said that New Jersey Transit was prepared to adjust its bus and train schedules for an earlier evening commute if conditions worsened.
By 11 a.m., the New Jersey State Police said it had responded to 275 accidents, including a jackknifed tractor-trailer that violated a ban on commercial vehicles put on some highways in the northern part of the state.
“We’re expecting this evening’s commute to be substantially worse than what we’ve seen so far today,” said Col. Patrick Callahan, who heads the state police.
In New York, state troopers had already responded to more than 700 storm-related crashes Sunday and Monday, officials said. Speed limits had been reduced on a number of state parkways and highways.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster counties and deployed 300 members of New York state’s National Guard to help with snow removal and cleanup efforts.
“Our state is no stranger to this type of extreme winter weather,” the governor said, “and these additional measures will be critical in our efforts to keep all New Yorkers safe throughout the remainder of this storm.”
He also directed nonessential state workers in the Albany area to remain home.
By 7 a.m. Sunday, 14.5 inches of snow had fallen at Albany International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. The storm was one of the 10 biggest snowstorms that Albany had ever faced in December, the Weather Service said.
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Authorities in the greater New York City area seemed particularly keen to avoid a repeat of an early winter storm in 2018 that wreaked havoc on the region and paralyzed the city during the evening commute.
Forecasters had predicted a dusting, but the November storm proved to be more powerful than anticipated. As snow piled up on roads that went unplowed, thousands of commuters found themselves stranded.
Heavy, wet snow and high winds also downed trees, further blocking streets, especially in New York City.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times .