- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 23, 2016

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a travel ban Saturday to include all New York City and Long Island roads as a blizzard bears down on the northeast, bringing with it up to 30 inches of snow.

The travel ban, which also includes New Jersey bridges and tunnels heading into New York City, takes effect at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and any motorists out the street after that time could be issued tickets and fines.

“Safety is our number one priority – and right now, it is not safe for the general public to travel,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Closing the roads and exterior rail roads and subways is the right thing to do in this situation, because it helps emergency personnel do their jobs and respond to the storm as aggressively as possible.”

Above ground subways in New York will also be canceling service as of 4 p.m. Saturday. Only emergency vehicles, hazard vehicles and critical healthcare personnel will be allowed on the closed roadways.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through 7 a.m. Sunday for the New York area, and is forecasting snow accumulations between 24 and 30 inches.

The same winter storm has already dropped upwards of 16 inches of snow in the nation’s capital.

SEE ALSO: March for Life groups stranded for hours in northeast blizzard

In the District of Columbia, local leaders did not issue a travel ban but have encouraged residents to stay in their homes through the duration of the storm.

“People walking down the street in the middle of the street is very dangerous for vehicle operators and very dangerous for you,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in a Saturday morning news conference. “There are too many residents on the streets. We need you to stay home.”

Through D.C. government Twitter accounts, officials issued warnings throughout the day urging those who had ventured out to return home.

“DC residents, as light begins to diminish, we need you to start getting off the streets. You’re making the situation difficult for our crews,” the District’s Department of Transportation tweeted.

All public transportation was cancelled in the District over the weekend, limiting transportation options for residents who did venture outside.

During a brief afternoon lull in the storm Saturday, residents ventured out to grab a few necessities like gas or headed to a smattering of bars and restaurants that were open. A few adventurous residents could even be seen snowboarding behind an SUV on city streets.

“I don’t know what a travel ban would have gotten us,” said Chris Geldart, director of the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

As of Saturday morning, D.C. officials said they had no reports of fatalities related to the storm. However in neighboring Prince George’s County, officials reported that one man had suffered a heart attack and died Saturday while shoveling snow.

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