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CNN Today

New York City Sees First Snowstorm of 1999-2000 Season

Aired January 20, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Maryland looks a lot like Minnesota today, and Pennsylvania bears a strong resemblance to North Carolina. The thing is, it's snow everywhere. From the Midwest to the Southeast to New England, the powerful winter storm closes schools, snarls traffic, basically does all the things winter storms do. Snowfall amounts range from one to nine inches, though the Northeast and New England haven't yet seen the worst of it.

As usual, police advise folks in the storm's path not to travel if they don't have to. But for many would-be air travelers, it's a moot point. Airports from Baltimore to Boston are seeing delays and cancellations.

ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: The morning commute in New York City was especially challenging today, and the evening rush will likely be a contradiction in terms.

CNN's Gary Tuchman is in New York, and it looks like he's found some temporary shelter -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Andria. We want to give you the experience that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have gone through today. That experience is leaving the relatively warm underground environment of the New York City subway and then coming out and experiencing the climate shock of New York City's first snowstorm of the 1999-2000 season.

That's right, New York City's had a grand total of no snow this winter. But today, although it's not a blizzard, they're expecting two to five inches of snow. And it's a relatively big story because of the fact that there hasn't been any snow this year, and because of the fact that, the last three years, there's only been a grand total of 24 inches of snow. So that gives you an idea of what's going on here.

This is a city with two baseball teams, five boroughs, 7.5 million people, and 400 million pounds of salt in 30 different locations to make the streets safe for people to drive. And much of that salt is on the ground right now. And many of the plows -- the 2,000 plows in the city will soon be on the streets when the accumulation gets to two inches, which is expected to happen within the next couple of hours.

Right here, some visitors to New York City. This woman's from Brooklyn, but this woman's from Argentina, this woman from France, experiencing the New York City snow.

You've been around New York for a while and it's been pretty snowless the last couple of winters, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes, it has.

TUCHMAN: So how do you feel about all this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's beautiful. I've been waiting for it for a very long time, and I think it's excellent. It makes all the cold days worthwhile.

TUCHMAN: OK, now, you're from Buenos Aires. It doesn't snow in Buenos Aires.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes; no, it doesn't.

TUCHMAN: So how do you feel about the snow in New York right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really nice. I haven't seen snow in a long time, so it's nice. I'm glad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Paris has been pretty snowless this winter, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it has, so I'm happy it's snowing here.

TUCHMAN: It's a winter wonderland, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is.

TUCHMAN: OK, I think they all believe it's a winter wonderland because I asked them before and they thought it was.

Thanks for joining us, ladies. Have a nice time in New York City.

One thing to keep in mind: Although two to five inches will not bring this city to a close, it will be very cold the next few days, way below freezing. As a matter of fact, down to near zero tomorrow night. So whatever snow comes down today will stick around for a while.

This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, live in New York City.

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