The massive winter storm that struck the Northeast overnight was expected to deal a “historic” blow to New York City, but those predictions fell short of the reality.

“This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City,” the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said on Sunday.

But thanks to an unexpected shift in the storm’s location, the nation’s largest city will see “much less snow” than originally thought, according to the National Weather Service.

New Yorkers dug in Monday evening after public officials requested people leave work early and stay off the roads. Flights were canceled and public transportation services wound down ahead of the expected blizzard. The projected snowfall was measured in feet.

Instead, there was about six inches on the ground in New York City early Tuesday.

But while the storm proved a bust there, its unexpected movement meant that areas further north were being battered as forecast. Parts of Massachusetts had already seen over a foot of snow at dawn Tuesday.

But even there, Gov. Charlie Baker said in a press conference Tuesday morning that the original predictions of 2-3 feet might not be borne out once the storm is finished. While the blizzard warning has been canceled for New York, it remains in effect for Massachusetts until 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Given those continued poor conditions, Baker reiterated his call for drivers to stay off the roads, following the statewide travel ban he announced on Monday night.

Similar bans were lifted by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, but they still warned of poor driving conditions.

“New Jerseyans should continue to stay off the roads whenever possible throughout the day as transportation and public safety officials continue their work to clear the roadways from the snowfall,” said a statement from the state of New Jersey.

Overnight, a National Weather Service meteorologist apologized for the missed forecast.

But speaking to CNN, de Blasio defended officials’ response to the New York blizzard forecast.

“People understood that we had to keep people safe,” he said.

[photo credit: bayou_darlin]