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Weak storm thwarts overprepared crews

New York City came out overprepared Friday for a weak storm that delivered just a few inches of snow -- not enough to plow in most places and not likely enough for the mayor to redeem himself from a disastrous response to a post-Christmas blizzard.

Flakes melted onto wet streets as snowplows -- some equipped with global positioning devices since the blizzard foul-up -- and salt spreaders sat idle all over the city.

By midafternoon, the National Weather Service reported the highest accumulation citywide was in Central Park, with a little less than 2 inches, a mere dusting compared with the holiday storm that dumped 29 inches in Staten Island and 20 inches in Central Park.

Six to 12 inches was forecast Friday for parts of upstate New York, where dozens of schools were closed, but in the New York City area, a total of 3 to 5 inches was expected.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, which has reassigned some sanitation supervisors and demoted its EMS command chief, seized Friday's storm as a chance to restore its image as a government that smoothly handles emergencies.

A big storm might have been a chance for Bloomberg to begin repairing his reputation that has been damaged in the aftermath of the late-December storm.

But it did not seem significant enough to make anyone soon forget past mistakes.

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