Another storm is taking aim at New York City, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg is still under fire for slow cleanup of a stubborn winter blast that kept streets clogged for days and delayed trash pickups, causing uncollected garbage to pile up for more than a week.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the New York City, plus parts of New Jersey, Connecticut and suburban Long Island, beginning Friday morning. Two to 5 inches of light snow could come overnight Thursday with heavier snow possible Friday into Saturday.
That compares with up to 2 feet from last month's storm, and officials warn this time that the changing forecast has made it difficult to pinpoint where the storm will hit hardest.
Bloomberg has called the cleanup from the last storm "unacceptable" and said Wednesday that his administration will "try to do the greatest job we can" on this next one.
"The public has a right to expect us to clean the streets, and that's exactly what we're going to do," he said.
The city's Office of Emergency Management has been in contact with the National Weather Service for updates and planned to finalize its plans for the storm later Thursday, depending on the forecast, officials said.
So far, the process has been typical for any winter storm and has not changed from what happened during the post-Christmas blizzard, the office said.
Even so, the personnel fallout in Bloomberg's administration because of the last storm has already begun.
The chief of the fire department's Emergency Medical Service Command was replaced this week amid investigations that hundreds of ambulances were stranded in the snow and 911 calls became backlogged. Aides say more demotions or firings are not unlikely.
Bloomberg has also directed Skip Funk, the citywide director of emergency communications, to examine why the communications and dispatching system failed.
Even after the last flakes fell, one woman with a broken ankle waited 30 hours for an ambulance. Another woman waiting for help gave birth to an unconscious child who was declared dead at a hospital.
City operators fielded 49,478 calls to 911 on Dec. 27, the day after the storm. That total was the sixth highest in any day since the city began keeping statistics. At one point, there was a backlog of 1,300 calls.
Federal prosecutors and city investigators are also looking into claims that sanitation workers sabotaged the city's snow cleanup as