State officials are warning commuters to be home Friday before the normal rush hour and shoreline residents to seek alternate shelter to avoid the teeth of a major winter storm that could bring 1-2 feet of snow.
The storm could bring winds up to 60 mph, downing trees and knocking out power, said Jerry Hauer, director of the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
“If you do have to go to work, plan for an early departure before the storm really gets going and we start getting three to four inches (of snow) per hour and it really gets dangerous,” Hauer said at a news conference. “There’s going to be a lot of blowing snow and very strong winds that will make travel Friday night into Saturday morning almost impossible.”
Waves of three to five feet could bring flooding along the shore – especially in Long Beach and the Rockaways, areas pulverized by superstorm Sandy in October – Hauer said.
“If you live right on the water, the tidal surge is going to be higher than normal with three to five feet of strong wave action,” Hauer said. “We’d like you to plan on an alternate residence.”
Hauer emphasized that shoreline flooding “is not going to be close to what we saw under Sandy,” noting the October storm brought a 13-14-foot surge.
“But there is some possibility for some flooding along the beaches, along the shoreline,” he said.
Officials haven’t suspended public transportation yet but advised commuters to monitor the situation. The state has stockpiled thousands of pieces of snow and ice equipment and has more than 1,000 employees ready to deploy.