Storm disrupts travel, closes schools early

Residents in Yonkers wait for a Bee-Line bus Residents in Yonkers wait for a Bee-Line bus as snow falls. (Jan. 28, 2013) Photo Credit: Richard Harbus

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A storm is creeping across the region, disrupting highway traffic in spots and complicating air travel plans.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Monday for northern Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties in the Hudson Valley.

Temperatures in many areas north of Interstate 287 were perched "precariously near the freezing mark" Monday afternoon, carrying the threat of ice on the roads as snow turned to freezing rain and sleet, News12 meteorologist Joe Rao said. Temperatures are expected to climb above freezing as a warm front approaches the area.

On the roads Monday afternoon, a 35 mph speed limit was imposed on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge because of sleet.

Scattered accidents were slowing traffic in Westchester County. In Elmsford, an accident delayed the southbound Sprain Brook Parkway near the Interstate 287 interchange. An earlier accident slowed the northbound Sprain Brook near Jackson Avenue in Greenburgh. And in Yonkers, a crash caused delays on Interstate 87 northbound from just south of Tuckahoe Road to the Cross County Parkway.

In Dutchess County, a two-car accident on Route 55 in LaGrange was causing delays in the area of East Noxon Road.

The weather was having an impact on air travel as well. Newark Liberty International Airport reported two-hour average delays, LaGuardia had one-hour delays and Kennedy Airport was experiencing 40-minute delays.

At Westchester County Airport, delays on US Airways flights ranged from half an hour to two hours, and its 5:55 p.m. flight to Philadelphia was canceled. Delta Air Lines canceled its 3:10 p.m. flight to Atlanta.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was reporting service on or close to schedule on Monday afternoon on all its Metro-North commuter lines. Because of icing, service remained suspended on the Haverstraw-Ossining and Newburgh-Beacon ferries.

In Ulster County, the City of Kingston suspended service on its Citibus bus line at 12:30 p.m.

Dozens of school districts throughout the region closed or dismissed students early in an effort to avoid the worst of the storm.

Accumulations of snow were expected to be light, no more than half an inch through most of Westchester and "maybe a little more in northern Westchester and counties to the north like Putnam and Orange," said National Weather Service forecaster Joe Pollina.

Higher elevations might see a little more ice and snow and temperatures holding below the freezing mark a bit longer, Pollina said.

By late afternoon, the precipitation will turn to "plain rain," Pollina said, and it will begin to taper off later Monday night, with a slight chance of some "freezing drizzle."

Temperatures should stay in the 30s all afternoon and through the night as the warm front moves in, Pollina said. Tuesday's high temperature will be in the mid- to high 40s, he said, with a chance of rain all day.

Wednesday will be even warmer, albeit still wet, with showers likely and temperatures climbing into the 50s.

A cold front then will push the precipitation out of the area, with Thursday's high not likely to be much above 40.

"By Thursday morning, we should be dry," Pollina said.

Friday should be partly sunny, with highs in the low- to mid-30s, the weather service said.

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