Governor Andrew Cuomo; AP Photo
By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Friday as a major snow storm is set to hit the New York City area Friday into Saturday with more than a foot of snow predicted.
The disaster declaration for the storm named "Nemo" was is in effect for New York City, Long Island and Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.
"You've heard of Finding Nemo. It seems like Nemo has found us," Cuomo said to open his afternoon briefing. "As everyone knows, we are expecting a severe winter storm, but nothing more than a severe winter storm."
Cuomo urged New Yorkers to take precautions-go home and stay off the roads.
Blizzard warnings were in effect through 1 p.m. Saturday for the region. Cuomo said in a news release that an estimated 10-14 inches of snow was expected for New York City, with Long Island possibly receiving as much as 20 inches. Wind gusts could reach as high as 70 mph on Long Island.
"The storm will affect the New York City area," Cuomo said. "It will probably hit Long Island even worse, Suffolk bearing the brunt of it, and the eastern part of the state up north, as the storm goes up toward New England."
State Police said Interstate 84 in New York has been closed to commercial traffic. Metro North will be on limited service after 8 p.m.
Cuomo said most airports will start closing at around 4 p.m., and JFK International Airport is set to close at around 6 p.m. More than 2,300 flights have been canceled.
"This is a serious, severe storm, a winter storm," Cuomo said. "But we just went through some really terrible storms with Hurricane Sandy. We are not anticipating anything like that. That's the good news. Severe winter storm, a lot of shoveling, stay in doors. If you can, get home."