Get off the roads or you’re under arrest.
That was the word Saturday afternoon from Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo, who declared all New York City roads would be closed by 2:30 pm, as the massive winter storm Jonas threatened to dump a record-breaking 30 inches of snow on the metropolitan area.
“After 2:30 if you are on the road and you don’t need to be there you are subject to arrest,” de Blasio said. The travel ban will be in effect until at least midnight. We’re going to tow any vehicle that is blocking our snow plow, our emergency vehicles.
“Turn around and go home right now. This is bad and it is getting worse rapidly.”
The dominoes were falling all day.
The MTA pulled all buses off the roads at noon, and announced that by 4 pm above-ground subway stations and all Metro-North and Long Island Railroad lines would be shut down.
The storm also put Saturday night’s Islanders-Flyers game and all Broadway shows on ice.
The blizzard was being driven by 55-mph wind gusts and producing snowfall at the rate of up to three inches per hour.
Nearly 15 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park by 1 pm; and nearly 17 inches was recorded Newark Liberty Airport, according to the National Weather Service.
The snowfall, which forecasters expected to end by midnight, could break the city’s all-time record of 26.9 inches recorded on Feb. 11-12, 2006.
The whiteout conditions even halted Staten Island Ferry service, which went to a two-boat delayed schedule, for a time.
A disappointed group of 15 students from Western Turkey took an early-morning ride on the iconic orange boat through the blizzard. “We couldn’t see the Statue of Liberty,” said 15-year-old Reynep Lal.
Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency Saturday morning as the killer storm blanketed the East Coast, claiming 10 lives in the South.
“I don’t care how tough we are as New Yorkers,” Cuomo said during a round of early-morning TV interviews. “The roads are really dangerous … My message is stay home.”
Coastal neighborhoods were bracing for the next high tide, at 7 p.m. Saturday, which are already higher because of a full moon.The National Weather Service warned that tides could be up to 3 1/2 feet above normal and set a coastal flood warning from 5 p.m. to midnight.
New Jersey Transit suspended all trains and buses at 2 a.m. Saturday, with no scheduled time for service to return.
New York City Public Libraries were closed Saturday and SAT exams were postponed.
Fliers were in worse shape than drivers. La Guardia Airport canceled 700 flights, and JFK canceled 350. As of 7:30 a.m, airlines nationwide had cancelled 8,323 flights for Friday, Saturday and Sunday as Jonas gripped most of the northeast.
“I just want to get out of New York,” one frustrated flyer, J.J. Leahy, 32, said at La Guardia Airport on Friday after multiple delays en route to Montana.
The airport was a ghost town, since the slow-developing storm gave most travelers plenty of time to find shelter.