By Jess Wisloski and James Fanelli
NEW YORK CITY — Bill de Blasio's first big test as mayor could come as early as Thursday — courtesy of Mother Nature.
A winter storm barreling up the Atlantic Coast is expected to blanket the city with as much as 8 inches of snow and send temperatures plummeting into the teens.
The National Weather Service said that snowflakes could start falling in the five boroughs on Thursday morning, before turning into freezing rain in the early afternoon. The heavy stuff is expected to begin around 5 p.m. and continue through Friday afternoon.
But a cool-headed de Blasio said Tuesday that his administration has the potential blizzard covered.
"If we see a situation worsening, we’re going to take very aggressive action," he said at a press conference a few hours before he was sworn in at his Park Slope home at 12:02 a.m. Wednesday. "So it’s very much on our screens."
De Blasio announced Tuesday that three of the city's emergency response commissioners who served under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg — including Sanitation Department Commissioner John Doherty, who oversees street plowing — will remain in their positions for the time being.
Previous mayors have received a hail of criticism for how they handled snowstorms.
Most recently, Bloomberg came under fire for his handling of the 2010 blizzard that dumped about 20 inches of snow on the city, snarling public transportation and leaving many streets unplowed and undriveable for days. Outerborough residents and politicians — including de Blasio — blasted Bloomberg and his storm czar, then deputy mayor Stephen Goldsmith, for poorly overseeing the snow removal.
"Something like a snowstorm, I take very personally," de Blasio said Tuesday. "I can see it, I can feel it, I can touch it, it’s not an abstraction. We are 100 percent ready.”
The National Weather Service predicted Thursday morning that the storm could bring 6 to 8 inches of snow and drop temperatures into the low teens, with wind chills of 5 to 10 below zero.
The Jan. 3 snowfall record is 7 inches, set in 1923. The record high for the date is 64 degrees, set in 2000. The all-time low for the date — minus 4 degrees — was recorded in 1879, according to the National Weather Service.
In a statement Tuesday, the Sanitation Department said it was already readying for the bad weather.
"In preparation for a snow event, DSNY personnel will begin initial equipment readiness, including loading our 365 salt spreaders, attaching plows when necessary, preparing tire chains and notifying supplementary personnel as needed," the release stated.