New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a state of emergency for the New York Metropolitan Area.
The governor urged residents to stay indoors Thursday, warning of a potential "spiral of chaos" caused by traffic accidents and disabled vehicles on roads that can't be cleared of snow.
Cuomo and other state officials said in a news conference Thursday morning that weather conditions caused by Winter Storm Grayson would deteriorate throughout the day as snow accumulated and the storm's wind gusts reached 60 mph.
"The wind compounds the problem," Cuomo said. "Because snow is one thing, but snow with 60 mph-plus gusts of wind is a very potent situation to deal with. It's almost impossible to clear roads when you have high wind gusts."
Cuomo said he was most concerned about commuters potentially getting stranded on the Long Island Expressway Thursday evening.
"The situation will deteriorate through the day and the afternoon and evening rush hour we expect to be worse [than this morning]," he said.
Many residents commuted to work Thursday morning, when conditions weren't as severe, he added. The state is concerned about when those same people hit the roads in the late afternoon or evening in much more dire conditions.
The governor said the state is not optimistic about its ability to clear roads enough to make them safe, increasing the risk of accidents and disabled vehicles piling up, putting law enforcement, EMS and others at risk.
Speed restrictions were imposed at New York City bridges. A number of bus lines were been canceled.
PATH was operating normally Thursday morning and NJ Transit was running on schedule.
New York State has hundreds of employees on duty dedicated to snow removal.
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said he expected subway service to continue running throughout the day. He added that bus service had been reduced and many buses were running with chains on their tires.
"We will be housing as many of our assets underground as we possibly can," he said.
Meanwhile, MetroNorth had been affected by high winds due to branches and trees coming down. Some stations had been bypassed due to unsafe conditions, Lhota said, adding that the situation was changing minute-to-minute.
"It's not even a question of preparedness at some point," Cuomo said of the state's efforts. "Mother Nature can bring a severity that is beyond your control at some point."
"If you go out, you are putting yourself at risk and you are putting other people at risk," the governor added.
"It is ugly and it is dangerous and it is slow," Cuomo said of the roads in the New York Metro Area.
Check here for continued updates on Winter Storm Grayson.
Photo: Getty Images