NYC weather: Snow blankets five boroughs

Let the shoveling begin.

New York City was walloped by a snowstorm on Thursday that dumped more than 13 inches in some neighborhoods, the National Weather Service said. 

Most of the snowstorm had moved out of the New York City area by around 4 p.m., but small pockets of flurries persisted until about 6 p.m., the NWS said. A winter storm watch, which began at midnight, expired at 6 p.m.

The storm had started with sleet and rain around 3 a.m. before heavy snowfall moved in around 6 a.m. By midmorning, snow was falling at a rate of up to 3 inches per hour, NWS meteorologist Pete Wichrowski said. But by 2 p.m. the snowfall had slowed to less than an inch per hour, said NWS meteorologist Fay Barthold.

Official totals from the National Weather Service show that many parts of the city got more than 10 inches of snow, with Queens taking the top spot at 13.2 inches in Fresh Meadows. 

The Bronx Zoo saw 10.6 inches of snow, while Midwood in Brooklyn had 10 inches, the NWS said. Central Park clocked in at 9.4 inches and Staten Island had 8.5 inches of snow.

The Department of Sanitation had 2,300 vehicles out on Thursday clearing the streets. Snowplow crews planned to finish clearing the city’s 6,000 miles of streets overnight into Friday. 

“We feel that the city will be largely back to normal, and we’ll be able to have school open and a pretty normal rush hour,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference about the storm. He confirmed later on Thursday that city schools would be open Friday.

The New York City Transit system, which experienced no major delays during the storm, was also expected to be fully operational Friday, spokesman Christopher McKniff said.

Express service on 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, B, E, D, F, N and Q trains ended in the early evening Thursday to facilitate underground storage of trains on tracks, Cuomo’s office said.

The snowstorm was just the latest turn on a roller coaster of weather changes New Yorkers  faced this week.

A record high of 62 degrees was set in Central Park on Wednesday, the NWS said. The previous record for Feb. 8 was 61 degrees, set in 1965.

While temperatures were relatively mild earlier this week, residents dealt with a deluge of rain on Tuesday. Meteorologist Jay Engle said just over a quarter of an inch fell by 3 p.m.; fog continued to linger in the area until about 5 p.m.

Temperatures are expected to remain cooler for the rest of the week, with a high near 30 degrees and flurries possible after 10 a.m. on Friday. There is also another chance for snow Friday night, mainly after 9 p.m. New snow accumulation is predicted to be less than an inch, the NWS said.

With Alison Fox, Vincent Barone and Matthew Chayes