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Mayor Orders Travel Ban — And Says No Food Deliveries — as Blizzard Pummels New York

With a massive storm wreaking havoc on the East Coast, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a "winter weather emergency" and ordered all non-emergency vehicles off the streets.
A woman walks over the Williamsburg Bridge following during a winter storm in New York on January 27, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Kelly/EPA)

A massive blizzard is pummeling the East Coast of the United States, wreaking havoc on the roads, leaving thousands without power, and throwing travel plans into disarray. And it only seems to be getting worse — so bad that New York City ordered all non-emergency vehicles off the roads, cancelled all of its Broadway shows, and had the mayor warn citizens against ordering food delivered from restaurants.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a "winter weather emergency" and issued a citywide travel ban until further notice. The mayor said this morning at a press briefing from the city's Office of Emergency Management that there were no signs of the snow letting up anytime soon. The National Weather Service said the city could expect up to 30 inches of snow, which would make it the heaviest snowfall on record since 1869. Wind gusts could reach up to 80 miles per hour, and the mayor warned citizens against letting their children play outside.

"This is bad," de Blasio said, "and it is getting worse rapidly."

The travel ban means anyone on the road can be subject to arrest as of 2:30pm local time.

"If you're out on the road with your car turn around and go home," the mayor said.

This will very likely be one of the worst storms in City history. Go home. Stay home. Stay safe today. - — NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice)January 23, 2016

*TRAVEL BAN* Non-emergency travel in New York City is banned after 2:30PM today. — Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio)January 23, 2016

The mayor was also asked whether it would be appropriate for New Yorkers to order food delivered from restaurants using the website Seamless. "A food delivery bicycle is not an emergency vehicle," de Blasio responded. "So… no."

Delivery guy on 1st Ave on — Linda Schmidt (@LSchmidtFox5)January 23, 2016

Visibility was at near zero around midday in Manhattan and Brooklyn. All flights from New York's JFK and La Guardia airports have been cancelled until the blizzard subsides.

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Around 90,000 homes in New Jersey were without power. Flooding in southern New Jersey was reportedly comparable to or worse than the damage caused by "Superstorm Sandy," the hurricane that slammed the region in 2012. The tide recorded on Saturday morning in New Jersey's Cape May broke the previous record set during Sandy.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, currently running for the Republican presidential nomination, was forced to abandon the New Hampshire campaign trail to attend to the blizzard. Christie has sternly rebuked comparisons to the 2012 hurricane.

"People shouldn't be mentioning Sandy and frightening people that way," Christie said in an interview on WCBS-TV. "There have been no evacuation orders."

All bus, light rail, and train service through New Jersey has been cancelled.

To the question, how deep is the snow? The answer is this deep — Jon Sopel (@BBCJonSopel)January 23, 2016

Nor'easters don't look much more amazing than this. — Chris Dolce (@chrisdolcewx)January 23, 2016

The mayor of Washington, DC has also urged people to stay off the streets. "We need the public to listen," said Mayor Muriel Bowser. "Stay home, and stay off the streets. That includes people who are attempting to drive, but it also includes people who are walking."

There have reportedly been more than 1,000 traffic accidents and 800 disabled vehicles on Virginia roads. Ten people have died so far, mostly from car crashes during the storm.

Images captured by NASA showed a massive cloud formation sweeping across the eastern seaboard.

NASA's view of storm moving up the East Coast. — Jim Roberts (@nycjim)January 23, 2016

Related: There's a Heat Wave Going on in the North Pole — And That's Not Good News

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