UPDATE, Wednesday 4:40 p.m.: You can follow our live snow updates here.

Is it snowing?

It's probably snowing somewhere, but not in NYC yet.

What is a Nor'easter, and is this going to be one?

Let's hand this one to the experts at the National Weather Service. "A Nor’easter is a storm along the East Coast, so called because the winds over the coastal area are typically from the northeast. These storms may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April. They nearly always bring precipitation in the form of heavy rain or snow, as well as winds of gale force, rough seas, and, occasionally, coastal flooding to the affected regions."

One of the more historic Nor’easters was the Blizzard of 1888, which brought New York City around 25 inches of snow and 40 mph winds. The storm killed 200 people, racked up $25 million in fire damages alone, and caused severe flooding (especially in Brooklyn).

So is this a Nor'easter, or a Not'easter? It's looking like the former.

What time does the snow start?

The snow is expected to start falling in NYC around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

How much accumulation is expected?

As of Wednesday morning, the NWS forecast is showing accumulations of 8 to 14 inches in the New York City area.

Wow, with that much snow I bet the city declares a "snow day" for school kids, right?

Ha no. Stop gazing out the window at the pretty snowflakes and resume staring at your computer screen for a full day of remote learning, kids.

How much accumulation is expected inside of my nearest subway station?

Our best guess is that you can expect to see anywhere from 1-inch to 1-foot of snow accumulation inside of your subway station. Remember to wear boots, and send us photos.

<p>Bay Ridge Ave R Station</p>

Wow, when is the last time NYC got as much snow as is forecast now?

The last time New York City got more than a foot of snow was in January 2016. That's four years (and 15 pandemic years) ago.

Will mass transit service be suspended?

The MTA is urging New Yorkers to avoid traveling unless it's necessary. If you plan to take mass transit on Wednesday or Thursday, check new.mta.info for the latest service updates (you can also sign up for real-time service alerts via text or email). Here is the latest from the MTA (we will update as things change):

Subway Service

While the underground portions of the system remain unaffected during snowstorms, there are nearly 220 miles of outdoor track throughout the boroughs. The Rockaway, Sea Beach, Flushing, Brighton and Dyre Ave Lines are particularly vulnerable to snow and freezing precipitation. To prevent subway trains from being blocked in yards, they will be moved and stored underground in anticipation of heavy snow or ice. This will impact service on lines with express service.

Commuter Railroads

With snow totals forecast to be highest in the suburbs, especially north of the city, Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road will consider various service options due to the vast coverage of service areas and severity of the storm. To help allow crews to attend to weather-related conditions and in anticipation of reduced ridership, the Long Island Rail Road will operate on an enhanced weekend schedule for Thursday, December 17th. Metro-North is closely monitoring conditions and may modify or suspend service if snowfall is heavy. In ice storms, blizzards, or sustained winds over 39 mph, train service may be severely curtailed or suspended.

Will I be able to enjoy a curbside hot toddy and dine outdoors?

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has declared a "Snow Alert" and suspended outdoor dining on city streets starting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Restaurateurs with street dining will be required to remove or secure any tables and chairs in the roadway, put away all electrical heaters, and "if possible, restaurants should remove any overhead coverings, or regularly remove the snow from overhead coverings until the snow alert ends." The DSNY estimates that the outdoor street dining closure could last until Thursday night, or possibly even into Friday. The city will notify restaurants when they can reopen for outdoor dining.

Did we ever use flamethrowers to clear snow in NYC?

Hell yeah we did. 🔥❄️

An isolated snowflake.

Photo by Alexey Kljatov

What should I do when it snows?

If you have been isolating at home for 10 months, go outside and stand in the snow and feel alive.

Will there be enough snow to go sledding?

According to the forecast, yes!

What even is snow?

Science kind of kills the magic, but "snow cover is a part of the cryosphere, which traces its origins to the Greek word kryos for frost," according to the NWS. It is precipitation that forms in the clouds when temperatures are below the freezing point, and presents to us as ice crystals. You can bunch up those ice crystals in your hands and form a ball to playfully throw at your friend, or you can build a snow fort, the possibilities are endless. At least, until it melts, at which point the city will become filled with slush lagoons. And when that happens, you're going to want to watch your step...