FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Travelers were stranded at airports and drivers tripled or quadrupled their commute times Tuesday as a winter storm blitzed the New York region with blowing snow and biting cold.
Forecasts called for a foot or more of snow before the storm was expected to clear the region early Wednesday morning.
As of Tuesday evening, more than 11 inches of snow was reported on Manhattan's Upper West Side, while Stony Brook on Long Island recorded 11 inches and Armonk in Westchester County had just under 10 inches.
At LaGuardia Airport, a television monitor displayed a litany of canceled flights.
"We don't expect to get out here till 6 p.m. maybe, tomorrow," said Paula Black after her flight to Chicago was canceled.
Taxi driver Tarik Charfane said it was difficult to go faster than 20 mph on Manhattan's West Side.
"You don't make any money in this job if you don't have three customers an hour, and with this weather, you might not," he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island and Westchester and Rockland counties. He also activated the State Emergency Operations Center to monitor storm developments.
Several townships on Long Island declared states of emergency, and by midafternoon many highways across the region were clogged with vehicles moving at a snail's pace across snow-covered pavement.
New York City officials said clearing snow from the city's streets had been slow going because the storm intensified just in time for the evening commute.
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said the traffic of the Tuesday rush hour "bottled" them up in many of the streets. Mayor Bill de Blasio asked drivers to stay off the roads to help sanitation crews have an easier time clearing them.
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