Snow-Weary N.J. Residents Ready For Summer
TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Some New Jersey schools canceled classes Monday, as another blast of winter weather slammed New Jersey a day after temperatures got into the 50s.
As of 5 p.m., Cranbury, N.J., had already seen 8.5 inches, CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.
A winter storm warning was in effect until 7 p.m. for many New Jersey counties. Another winter storm is expected to hit New Jersey Tuesday and Wednesday.
Power outages due to the wet, heavy snow also hit New Jersey hard Monday. Public Service Electric & Gas reported 2,670 customers had lost power Monday afternoon – about 1,350 of them in Hamilton Township in Mercer County.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency Monday. Nonessential state employees also began a staggered dismissal starting at noon on Monday due to the snow, the governor’s office announced.
“Today’s winter storm is expected to produce heavy snow and travel hazards throughout the state, affecting tonight’s evening commute,” said Gov. Christie in a statement. “I’ve authorized state officials to take all necessary action to prepare, and my Administration will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. I encourage all New Jerseyans to drive carefully and remain off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations.”
And as CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, the snowfall clobbered Trenton on Monday afternoon. Mounts of snow were removed from the state capitol parking lot as workers tried to get out.
“I decided to let the masses go before I left,” one woman said. “You know, it’s a heavy snow.”
Government offices closed at 1 p.m. Some drivers found themselves stuck, with their wheels spinning, while others who did not have shovels had to use scrapers to dig out.
Many said it takes hours to get home in this kind of weather.
“I have 50 miles to go down the Jersey shore. I live in Toms River,” said Frank Meyer. “So you’ve just got to take it easy and be very careful.”
Some side roads in Trenton were covered in snow, and the main ones were barely passable, Sloan reported. Speed limits were reduced on major highways.
“The roads are terrible,” said Mike O’Neill. “We were coming down Parkway Ave. just a few minutes ago, and I actually saw somebody hit a telephone pole straight on. They just slid right into it.”
Andy Chen told CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco the slick, icy roads in Upper Saddle River sent him crashing into a snowbank. As he watched his car being pulled out of the snow and hoisted up onto the flatbed of a two truck, he said it was a frightening and somewhat embarrassing situation.
“I was driving slowly and then made a turn and then got stuck in there,” he said.
The steady snowfall kept tow truck driver Paul Walker with Ramsey Auto Body busy.
“As we speak, another accident,” he said. “A car drove into a telelphone pole, so you can see the road conditions regardless of salt can be ruthless.”
Somerville in central New Jersey also took the brunt of the storm Monday.
Streets were covered in slush and ice and some stores on Main Street stayed closed because of the conditions.
“My coffee business always busy, but no. Look, just three people inside,” Dunkin’ Donuts worker Vinod Panchal told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang.
But not everyone minded the snow.
“Storm after storm after storm,” plow truck driver Hector Corchado told Jiang. “It means money, money, money. Keeping busy and helps pay your bills.”
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Those who have to be on the road urged fellow drivers to take caution.
“Just gotta increase your following distance and be aware of other people and make sure you use your horns,” UPS driver Mike Lamberti said.
The colonial village of Cranbury looked like a picture post card, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported.
“I think it’s beautiful,” one man said. “Cranbury looks great in the snow. The kids love it, because they’re home having a good time.” He later added that despite the beauty and pleasure for the kids, he himself does not particularly enjoy the snow.
For people in Cranbury and elsewhere, the latest snow means extra work, shoveling, and clearing off cars before making any sort of move.
“Very tough winter; a lot of shoveling this year. Great for the landscapers,” said Peter Meyer. “Tired of it. Ready for spring, I’ll tell you that.”
A little farther north, and just west of Newark, there wasn’t quite as much snow. But there was plenty for people who live in areas like East Orange.
“I love it. It should have snowed like this yesterday at the Super Bowl,” said Robert Gaddy of East Orange. “It would have been awesome.”
And letter carriers had no choice but to brave the snow and deliver their mail.
“This is crazy; a lot of snow,” one postal worker said. “It’s very tough for us to do.”
As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported from Montclair, many residents are already snow weary and counting the days until spring.
As of midday, about 6 inches of heavy, wet snow had already fallen.
Rain turned to snow shortly after 3 a.m. in Montclair as temperatures dropped. Early risers woke up to another round of light but steady snow showers.
“Enough already at this point,” Montclair resident Carl Kraus told Finch. “It’s just a bit too much.”
“I think I’m ready for the summer,” Sean O’Keefe told Finch.
“It’s beautiful for a little bit but too many times. It makes it a hassle to get around mostly,” resident Phillip Miller added.
“That would have been terrible if we would have got this” on Super Bowl Sunday, Ali Qasim told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. He had just spent part of his day trying to get his girlfriend’s car out of a snowy parking spot in Rutherford.
“I guess it’s payback time for all the warm winters we’ve had,” one man said while he waited for an NJ TRANSIT train.
Rob Bianco, the Montclair Superintendent of Public Works, said they don’t have the resources they need to handle all the snow.
“Most of the salt in this general area has been going towards the Meadowlands for the Super Bowl for DOT purposes, GW Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Route 80, New Jersey Turnpike, Parkway. The local municipalities and the counties have been struggling to get it and this has been going on since the middle of December,” said Bianco.
In Morristown, N.J., WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported that heavy, wet snow was falling Monday morning.
“I’ve had enough of winter,” one driver said.
“Drive slow and don’t drive fast,” another driver told Adams.
In Ramsey, as CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, the local school district faced a tough decision Monday about whether or not to cancel classes.
At Smith Middle School in Ramsey, officials decided on an early dismissal. A blizzard of sport-utility vehicles pulled up to the school in the midday hours and parents scrambled to pick up the children early.
“I don’t understand why school wasn’t canceled altogether,” one parent said.
Word about early dismissal at the school came at daybreak – something some working parents said left them in the lurch.
“I do work, but luckily, I am very flexible,” said Donna Moy-Waletzki of Saddle River. “But what if I worked in the city and I couldn’t come get my children?”
“You’re scrambling — calling friends; neighbors – ‘Can you get my kids today?’” another parent said.
And parents said these buses Monday morning didn’t even show up to pick up their kids.
“My kids called me at 10; said the buses weren’t picking them up,” a parent said.
That led some to wonder whether buses would even be there for early dismissal – prompting even more of a traffic jam at pickup.
“We should not have had school today,” said Janet Freitag of Ramsey.
CBS 2 tried to address the issue of why schools opened on Monday, but the local superintendent did not return calls.
NJ TRANSIT is offering system wide cross-honoring of bus, rail and light rail tickets and passes on Monday due to winter weather conditions.
Nearly one-fourth of the flights in and out of Newark Liberty Airport were canceled Monday morning.
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