BROOKLYN - The city has declared a snow alert as it gears up for a winter whiteout.

The Department of Sanitation is revving up its snow plows and has more than 250,000 tons of salt ready to coat the streets. Extra crews are also on standby, prepared to work 12-hour shifts to clean up the snow.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city is prepared for the blizzard. He is urging people to leave work a little early this afternoon, and wants drivers to stay off the roads as much as possible so that plows can get to work.

The city also has a new online tool that will let you track snow plows in real time to see when they are coming through your neighborhood.

New York City schools are staying open today, but after-school programs have been canceled.