How states are tackling winter storm Juno

Updated

As massive winter storm Juno began to wallop much of the northeastern United States on Monday, lawmakers tried to prepare their constituents for the very worst.

Several governors declared a state of emergency, closed down major roads, issued travel bans and urged people to stay indoors to avoid the most serious period of snowfall – as much as two-and-a-half feet – which was expected to accumulate Monday night and into Tuesday. 

On Tuesday morning, several states began to lift travel bans, but officials still urged residents not to go outside unless they absolutely have to.

Here’s a look at the state of the states and what elected officials are saying and doing. 

New York

UPDATE: Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the travel ban on Tuesday morning. He said at a news conference that New York City received four to six inches of snow, while places like Long Island were harder hit, with 16 inches. Overall, it was “less than predicted, which was good news,” the governor said. Cuomo warned, however, that “the roads are still dangerous. They are passable but there is a level of ice below the snow.” He added, “We don’t want to give people a false sense of security…if it’s non-essential, we wouldn’t recommend” traveling. Subways and busses are expected to be running, on a Sunday level, later in the morning. 

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On Monday, Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for all counties south of Sullivan. State-controlled highways closed at 11 p.m., in addition to city and local roads. After 11 p.m., he said drivers will “technically be committing a crime” and could face fines of up to $300. The MTA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also closed at 11 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who also declared a state of emergency, had ordered all non-emergency vehicles off the streets by 11 p.m. on Monday. “Prepare for something worse than we have seen before,” the Democrat said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon. City schools were also closed. The Democrat added, “Change your plans, change your behavior, change your approach starting right now.’

More than 1,300 flights were cancelled at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports.

New Jersey

UPDATE: On Tuesday morning, in coordination with Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also lifted the travel ban in his state. NJ Transit railroad will have limited service by Tuesday afternoon and bus service will be operating at 11 a.m. The governor tweeted, “I am asking everyone in NJ who doesn’t have to drive this morning please don’t. And those that do, please drive slow.” 

Christie – whose popularity received a boost following his response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – had declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, and said NJ Transit would begin shutting down services at 9 p.m. During a press conference in Newark, Christie said Garden State residents should be ready for potential power outages, and that closed roads were a possibility.

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The governor’s office announced later Monday that the state also would be implementing a travel ban effective at 11 p.m., subject to revocation at daybreak.

Christie shuttered state offices early on Monday and they remained closed on Tuesday. 

“I’ve authorized state officials to take all necessary action in advance of the storm, and my administration will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. I encourage all New Jerseyans to use every caution when they travel today and to remain off the roads whenever possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations,” the governor said.

Sen. Cory Booker—who became known for helping dig out residents when he was mayor of Newark – urged his constituents to stay safe. He noted on Twitter that he wouldn’t be able to personally offer a hand this time around because he’s in Washington, D.C. “Like Kobe Bryant, I’m on the bench for this snow storm,” he tweeted.

Pennsylvania

On Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a disaster emergency proclamation, a move that enables state and local authorities to to use all available resources and personnel to battle the storm. Bid and contract procedures are also temporarily waived. The proclamation doesn’t restrict vehicular travel but motorists were encouraged to delay unnecessary travel.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter announced a snow emergency beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday. The move mandates that motorists remove their vehicles from the city’s designated snow emergency routes. Children at city schools and non-essential snow-fighting city employees were dismissed early on Monday. A decision regarding closures on Tuesday is expected later.

Massachusetts

Newly elected Gov. Charlie Baker has also declared a state of emergency, in addition to announcing a travel ban starting at midnight for all non-emergency vehicles. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is set to close starting at midnight and into Tuesday.

He warned of strong winds, wet snow and power outages. “Driving will be virtually impossible in many areas for extended periods of time starting late tonight and through much of tomorrow. I urge everyone except essential medical, emergency and transportation workers to stay off the roads until the snow has passed,” the Republican said at a new conference, calling Juno a “top-five historic storm.”

In Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh declared a snow emergency starting at 6 p.m. and Boston public schools will remain closed on both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Connecticut

UPDATE: Gov. Daniel Malloy said on Tuesday that the travel ban had been lifted for local roads in Fairfield and Litchfield counties but the ban remains in effect for the rest of the state.

Gov. Malloy had issued a State of Emergency on Monday, in addition to a travel ban on all roads starting at 9 p.m. He initially warned that snow drifts could result in an additional four feet on top of the already 22 to 32 inches expected.

On Monday evening, Malloy said the Connecticut National Guard would be deploying 400 guardsmen to assist state police and first responders and that the state department has over 600 trucks ready to go.

“We want to clear the roads as quickly as possible. Please stay off the roads throughout duration of the storm & let the plows do their jobs,” Malloy tweeted.

Rhode Island

Newly elected Gov. Gina Raimondo also issued a state of emergency with three feet of snow expected in some areas in addition to winds of up to 70 miles per hour. Raimondo, the first woman to serve as governor of the state, asked residents to stay off the roads beginning at 8 p.m. on Monday. A travel ban will be instituted starting at midnight and Raimondo said at a news conference that the ban will remain in place until residents are further notified.

She took to Twitter on Monday to offer advice. “Make sure you hatve the essentials - food, water, blankets, flashlights etc,” and “Keep your cell phones fully charged before the storm hits in preparation for power outages if they occur,” she wrote.

New Hampshire

Similarly, Gov. Maggie Hassan has declared a state of emergency as the storm is expected to hit the southeastern part of the state. She urged residents to stay at home if possible on Wednesday. “If you do have to travel, our weather experts are telling us that you should prepare to perhaps be stranded,” Hassan said at a news conference.

State government will be closed on Tuesday for non-essential personnel.

Hassan said one or two inches of snow per hour is expected between midnight and noon on Tuesday and that winds are expected to exceed 50 miles an hour. 

Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, Charlie Baker, Chris Christie, Cory Booker, Gina Raimondo, Maggie Hassan, Tom Wolf and Weather

How states are tackling winter storm Juno

Updated