Facing criticism from parents, Mayor Bill de Blasio is defending the decision to keep New York City public schools open today.

During a morning news conference, de Blasio said it's always a tough decision whether to close schools.  He said weather forecasts are imperfect and he wanted to make a decision early to give parents enough notice.

De Blasio noted it's the city's job to educate students and he felt the school buses could make it to school safely.  He said it's a "rare act" that schools close and pointed out it's only happened 11 times since 1978.

The mayor said the city received the high end of the snow projection and it accumulated faster and earlier than expected.  By the end of the morning rush, 5 to 8 inches of snow was already on the ground.

The city had 475 salt spreaders out before the storm and 1,900 plows on the streets once the snow began accumulating. 

De Blasio said rush hour created challenges in the cleanup and urged people to stay off the roads and take mass transit.

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