Just In Time For Winter Storm Nemo, Boston And New York Launch Real-Time Snow Plow Trackers

on February 08 2013 6:11 PM
Nemo's Approach
The National Weather Service's forecast for Friday shows heavy snow blanketing the Northeast. National Weather Service

Winter storm Nemo is already wreaking havoc on the U.S. Northeast, forcing the cancellation of 4,000 flights. With heavy snow anticipated until Saturday, New York and Boston have both launched real-time snowplow trackers that will help residents deal with the expected blizzard conditions.

Road conditions are anticipated to deteriorate as the so-called Nemo dumps snow on most of the East Coast, with blizzard conditions expected in New York Friday by 8 p.m. EST. If you need to travel in either New York or Boston, there are now ways to track snowplow coverage in those cities.

New York's real-time tracker made its debut Friday, with PlowNYC “created to allow the public to track the progress of [Department of Sanitation of New York, or DSNY] snow-clearing operations throughout the five boroughs.” Removing snow during a blizzard is not an easy task in New York, considering the number of cars and people there. As a result, DSNY has designated streets as primary, secondary, or tertiary to make the snow-removal process as efficient as possible.

Primary streets are main throughways, such as bridges, bus routes, expressways, and highways, as well as entrances and exits to major hubs such as airports or ferries. Any street with a fire or police department facility, hospital, or school is also considered a primary street. Secondary streets are those that are alternate routes to primary streets and heavily trafficked streets, while tertiary streets are either not highly trafficked or dead-end streets. A full list can be found at the PlowNYC microsite.

PlowNYC allows a New York resident to enter an address to determine whether a given street falls into one of the three categories. An address can also be used to track snowplows in a specified area. The site also has an updating sidebar with cancellations, road closures, and other important details during winter storm Nemo. Users can also report snow or ice on the roads.

The blizzard is also set to hit Boston, which has unveiled a real-time tracker that is map-orientated. Although it has experienced significant performance problems, SnowOps Viewer lets Bostonians track snowplows and salt spreaders throughout the city. Snow removal can be tracked by location and by zooming in on the map as well as by inputting an address. The tool also keeps track of total vehicles that are active as well as the number of salt loads. Boston also has a Twitter, @NotifyBoston, that will alert residents to advisories, closures, and Nemo updates. Residents can also report unshoveled sidewalks.

Nemo seems to be picking up and Weather.com is projecting heavy snow and wind for Boston beginning around 7:15 p.m. EST, with blizzard conditions starting around 11 p.m and lasting until 4 a.m. For New York, snow is expected throughout the night while blizzard conditions last until 5 a.m. During Nemo, travel should be kept to a minimum, and those who choose to venture out should make sure to check the latest updates before doing so.

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