Beware The Freeze

Thomas MacMillan PhotoAs the city cleans up mounds of sodden snow, the head of emergency operations warned of the danger ahead: It will all turn to ice.

Meanwhile, the city’s transit chief, tow trucks at the ready, warned neighborhood parkers not to be “the odd car on the block.”:

Rick Fontana, the emergency operations chief, voiced that warning at an 11 a.m. storm briefing in the city’s underground emergency operations center on Orange Street.

He said the temperature was predicted to drop below freezing at 10 p.m. Wednesday, and not rise above freezing until Tuesday.

Acting Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Pugh estimated that the city got six or seven inches of snow overnight, compressed by rain Wednesday morning.

The snow fell as part of Winter Storm Nika, one of a number of storms that have hit town recently—with one more predicted this weekend.

And Nika’s not over yet. Fontana (pictured) announced that the forecast called for light rain Wednesday, followed by a couple hours of light snow starting at 5 p.m.

The problems will begin after the mercury plummets, Fontana predicted. “This is all going to be ice over the next several days.”

“Everything will be ice after 10 p.m.,” he said.

Public works chief Doug Arndt said most streets in the city have seen at least on pass of the plow. He said his workers are putting “product” on the streets to keep the ice at bay.

Other updates from the briefing:

• The city will have a parking ban downtown between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. During that time, parking will also be forbidden on posted snow routes and on the odd-numbered side of all streets. Traffic tsar Doug Hausladen said he’ll have towing companies lined up to clear parked cars from downtown. The city will also enforce the parking ban elsewhere, he said. “Don’t be the odd car on the block.”

• People can park overnight at the Temple and Crown street parking garages for $3 between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. Parking will be free at the Granite Square parking garage.

• The city had 165 calls to 911 overnight, which is “relatively normal,” Fontana said. Police received eight reports of motor vehicle accidents and eight reports of disabled vehicles.

• Despite predictions, Nika did not cause trees and branches to topple under the weight of heavy snow. “We have had no calls for limbs down,” said parks department deputy chief Christy Hass. United Illuminating had been prepared for 5,000 to 10,000 power outages throughout its network. The city had none.

• Police Chief Dean Esserman said “officers are all at work” and prepared for “when the roads freeze up.”

• Assistant Fire Chief Ralph Black said firefighters put out a small fire on Whalley Avenue overnight.

• The Livable City Initiative received only one no-heat complaint overnight.

• Flights from Tweed Airport were canceled through noon.

• Chief Black warned that people should be aware of snow piling up on flat roofs, especially with another storm on the way.

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