NEW YORK - Ready or not, New Yorkers will be getting a frigid preview of winter before this weekend.

A freeze warning is in effect citywide from midnight until 9 a.m. Thursday.

Alternate side parking will be suspended Thursday.

Snow and sleet will develop on Thursday and then change to rain Thursday night.

Rain will continue into Friday morning and end completely by the afternoon.

As for the weekend, right now it looks dry and milder with highs close to 50.

The city is making preparations to handle the first snowfall of the season.

The plows are ready to work on Thursday, with some snow and icy weather expected.

With temperatures forecast to be in the 40s, the Sanitation Department says that the snow might not stick but road conditions could get ugly.

"It's going to very, very slushy in that afternoon," said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. "The evening commute is going to be sort of miserable. That wil be the height of when we anticipate accumlations. So it'll be fast, furious for a few hours, and then it will be over."

The city Department of Sanitation is beginning its annual "Night Plow" winter schedule operations.

Through mid-April, pre-scheduled staff will be working around-the-clock to promptly respond to snow and ice conditions.

The department has 695 salt and sand spreaders to send out before expected snowfall, and 2,300 trucks that can plow snow and ice.

The first freeze of the season with temperatures falling to near 30 degrees.