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Nor’easter Wallops New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thursday’s nor’easter blanketed New Jersey, leaving many communities buried underneath more than a foot of snow.

Some of the hardest-hit communities as of 3 p.m. included Kearny (15 inches) and East Rutherford (14.4).

And the latest winter storm isn’t over. Forecasters said, when it’s all said and done, the nor’easter could bring up to 18 inches of snow to some parts of northern New Jersey.

In Kearny, Subi Arara spent about 45 minutes working to free her car.

“I’m actually from Texas, so I have actually never dealth with this much snow,” she told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

The experience was “a little overwhelming,” Arara said.

A record snowfall of 9.4 inches was set in Newark on Thursday. Snow totals from the storm broke the old record of 3.3 set in 1950.

The storm knocked out power to nearly 10,000 homes and businesses and was disrupting evening commutes.

NJ TRANSIT’s Northeast Corridor, New Jersey Coast line and Midtown Direct service were experiencing 30 to 60 minutes delays Thursday afternoon due to Amtrak switch problems, NJ TRANSIT spokeswoman Nancy Snyder told WCBS 880. NJ TRANSIT buses and trains are cross-honoring tickets through Friday.

More than 700 flights in and out of Newark Liberty Airport were canceled Thursday, and nearly 250 others had already been canceled for Friday. Part of the problem was that a number of agents from the Transportation Security Agency had trouble getting to work because of the weather.

CHECK: Winter Storm Warnings | Radar | School Closings | Airport Delays | Traffic & Transit

New Jersey State Police said they had responded to 157 accidents and assisted 373 motorists as of noon. A stretch of Route 4 in Fair Lawn was flooding Thursday night because ice and snow were clogging the sewers.

Even when roads were plowed, they were sometimes dangerous because of drivers who did not remove snow from the top of their cars before driving off.

CBS 2’s Dave Carlin confronted one offender he encountered on Route 4 in Elmwood Park.

“You’re right,” Alberto Rodriguez, of Hackensack, told Carlin. “I should have done it (removed the snow). But I didn’t do it. I was tired from shoveling.”

Wind-whipped snow blanketed the streets of New Jersey’s capital city, but Trenton was mostly deserted because Gov. Chris Christie had closed state government offices in anticipation of the storm.

The Westfield Garden State Plaza mall was closed Thursday, and the Paramus Park Mall did not open until noon.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, all but two businesses in Millburn, N.J., were closed Thursday — a bagel shop and a hardware store.

Teenager Rachel Freundkich was cross-country skiing right through the center of the town.

“I’m trying to get a friend’s house and my parents and didn’t want to drive, so I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll just ski there,” she said.

Most of the people outside, however, were emergency workers, such as fire department crews digging out hydrants.

The storm meant another snow day for most of the state’s school children, many of whom have had four or five days off this winter because of the weather. To make up the days, districts are taking all or parts of scheduled winter or spring breaks or discussing adding half-days of classes on Saturday or extending the school year.

‘Virtual School Day’

One New Jersey school district is having students log on for a “virtual school day” in an experiment that could alter the meaning of snow days.

Bergen County’s Pascack Valley Regional High School District officials told The Record newspaper that Thursday’s experiment is possible because all students at its two schools are issued laptops.

While students won’t be on campus, they are expected to log in, complete assignments found on teachers’ websites and communicate with teachers throughout the day.

Leigh Tricamo’s son is at home, but he’s in class.

“It seems to be going very smoothly. My son’s been working since about 10 after 8 this morning and his teachers are commenting back and forth,” she told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

Tricamo’s son, a sophomore, is among about 2,000 Pascack Valley Regional High School District high school students using their school-issued laptops for a virtual school day.

“For the districts that are prepared to do so, I think it’s a great alternative,” said Tricamo.

She said many jobs hold meetings online, so this virtual day serves as good training for high school students.

The district has asked the state education department to count the virtual day as a traditional school day to avoid making up the day later.

The DOE will evaluate how the day went to decide whether to count the day as an official one for the district. If it doesn’t, students will have to make up a day during spring break.

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