Winter Storm Stella Inconveniences Queens


Winter Storm Stella brought mostly annoyance, rather than the record setting 20-plus inches that was originally predicted, as she made her way through Queens on Tuesday.

The scene in Hollis following Stella’s arrival. Photo by Ariel Hernandez

The scene in Hollis following Stella’s arrival.
Photo by Ariel Hernandez

Queens residents spent a large portion of the day digging out sidewalks and cars as the storm switched from heavy snow to freezing rain and then an overnight chill that left the streets caked in ice.

Kathy Dawkins, of the city’s Sanitation Department, said that the city had 689 salt spreaders deployed across the five boroughs while the storm passed through. The department also had 2,000 collection trucks with plows and 2,400 sanitation workers taking part in alternating shifts to battle the storm.

On Monday night, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York and suspended express subway service after rush hour and, at 4 a.m., cancelling above-ground service, which was then restored Tuesday evening. Flights were cancelled at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports.

The storm was originally expected to dump anywhere from eight to more than 20 inches on the city. However, only four to seven inches was reported at various sites across the five boroughs.

Queens residents who spent the second half of Tuesday shoveling snow said that Stella was merely aggravating, rather than the crippling storm that they had been led to believe would descend on the borough.

“It was worse than snow, honestly, because of the hail and the rain,” said Bayside’s Andrea Briggs, 60. “I have to clean my whole property. I’m 60 years old, I live alone and I have security cameras. At 3:17 this morning, Sanitation put snow on my driveway. I have video of it. It’s just outrageous. Every time it snows, this happens. We clean everything out and then Sanitation comes and destroys our work.”

Flushing resident Kim Chan, 45, said that he had been shoveling for much of the afternoon, which had been difficult since the weather pattern kept changing.

“The weather’s like crazy, it’s 30 degrees, it’s still raining,” he said. “That’s why right now you step on the snow, it’s hard.”

Hollis’ Marcus Brown said that Stella was less of a blizzard and more similar to a typical winter storm. But he still didn’t appreciate her visit to the city.

“It wasn’t as much as I expected, but it’s Queens, so no matter how much snow we get, it’s always messy and annoying,” he said.

Angelo Ruiz, of Hollis, said that he dug out his car, but didn’t plan on using it.

“I was not expecting this much ice,” he said. “I’m digging out my car, but I’m not going to move it. I’d rather just slip and slide to work by foot than slip and slide on the road and put other drivers in danger.”

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