ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Towns along New Jersey’s coast were once again dealing with tidal flooding late Saturday, after a monumental blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow on parts of the state.
An entire street was under water in Margate. Waist-high water pushed up on local businesses as police blocked off the area.
Emergency officials in Manasquan tweeted out a picture showing streets flooded with ocean water and icy chunks of snow. Atlantic City officials reported flooding there as well.
The National Weather Service had forecast moderate to major flooding for southern New Jersey and moderate flooding for northern New Jersey Saturday night.
Officials said that Saturday night and Sunday morning’s tidal flooding isn’t expected to be as severe as Saturday morning’s.
“So it’s a lower high tide than what we had before and we don’t think and nor do the mayors down there think that there is any need for mandatory evacuation,” Gov. Chris Christie told CBS2.
In Union Beach, water from the bay was crashing over the icy snow, CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported.
“Keeping an eye on the water because this town was destroyed by Sandy,” one man said.
A string of resort towns was temporarily isolated by floodwater that inundated homes and restaurants, authorities said.
“We’re looking at more of the same or maybe not as bad,” Diane Wieland, a spokeswoman for Cape May County said ahead of Saturday night’s high tide. “A lot of properties have water in them. But it may not be until later Sunday that they can assess the damage.”
Speaking at a news conference earlier Saturday afternoon in Sayreville, Christie said that while there was significant street flooding in Cape May County, most of the Jersey Shore was in good condition.
He emphasized that although street flooding is a concern along the coast, “this is no comparison to Superstorm Sandy.”
“People shouldn’t be mentioning Sandy and frightening people that way,” Christie said.
In Sea Isle City, cold water quickly covered the streets around 8:45 p.m. Saturday, about an hour after high tide.
Mayor Len Desiderio spent the day worrying about his residents and despite what the governor said, the mayor called the storm full of wind, snow and water worse than Sandy.
“I think it’s worse than Sandy because of the weather,” he said. “It’s cold, it’s snowy, it’s raining.”
Officials in New Jersey were assessing damage caused by the flooding.
“When the water just started rushing down, it was as impressive as some of the videos you saw of Japan during the tsunamis,” said Jason Pellegrini, owner of Steak Out restaurant in Sea Isle City, who was trapped inside by floodwaters.
Firefighters also went into a flooded area of Sea Isle City to battle a blaze at another restaurant that may have been linked to the high waters.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, the state had earlier recommended evacuations for residents in low-lying, flood-prone areas in Brick, Lacey, Little Egg Harbor, Manasquan, Toms River, Tuckerton and Barnegat Township.
Flood waters crept up to houses on Simpson Avenue and East 11th Street in Ocean City on Saturday morning.
“We were down here for Sandy and there was about 4 feet of water that came through here, so I think it’s a good measure to get out,” said Glenn Hillegass, of Barnegat.
Thousands Without Power
Meanwhile, thousands of homes remain without power Saturday night around New Jersey as the storm continues battering down with heavy wind and snow.
“For those who have lost power, we’re moving them to county shelters if they don’t have friends or relatives who have power,” said Christie.
At 11 p.m., Jersey Central Power & Light was reporting more than 8,000 customers without power. Earlier in the day, 27,000 customers were without power.
Rob Morano with JCP&L said crews were working in white out conditions.
“The snow was blowing in our workers’ faces, there were gusting winds out there making working nearly impossible but our workers worked through it and continue to work through it to restore power,”.
JCP&L said it expects to have power fully restored to all customers by 9 p.m. Sunday.
Earlier, a JCP&L crew had to remove the mast of a sailboat that was moved by strong winds after it got caught in some power lines, according to Belmar officials.
For the latest outage numbers, click here.
‘We’re Getting It Done’
Christie declared a state of emergency Friday night. At his midday news conference, he urged residents to stay home so crews can continue their efforts to clear the state’s roadways.
“We feel very prepared,” Christie said at the news conference. “This is my 17th snow emergency in six years as governor. So we know how this works, we know how to do it and we’re getting it done for the people of the state. As long as they stay inside I think we’ll be fine.”
Following a request by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Christie agreed to issue a travel ban on the Port Authority’s Hudson River bridges and tunnels.
Non-emergency vehicles are not allowed on the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing.
The ban, which went into effect at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, will be lifted at 7 a.m. Sunday, officials said.
The City of Hoboken also issued a state of emergency and prohibited driving except for public safety and essential services. The city said the travel ban will be lifted at 7 a.m. Sunday.
With the travel ban on roadways in place, many were out walking in Hoboken Saturday night.
“This is where you get the real Hoboken,” one woman told CBS2’s Dave Carlin. “People going out and about, seeing each other, seeing their friends no matter what the weather.”
Newark also declared a state of emergency until 6 a.m. until Sunday. All nonessential vehicles and residents were asked to stay off the streets.
Heavy Snow Hits Garden State
A blizzard warning is in effect until 7 a.m. on Sunday for most of New Jersey.
By 7 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service said more than 25 inches of snow had fallen in Newark. Hoboken was reporting 24 inches of snow while other areas were reporting anywhere from 15 to 27 inches.
Snow started falling in New Jersey earlier than initially predicted on Friday and many officials boosted snow totals in response.
The state brought in 228,000 tons of salt and all the major roadways were brined Friday in anticipation of the storm. Christie said over 3,800 snow-clearing equipment were deployed throughout the state.
“It’s crazy, it’s hectic,” one plow driver in Weehawken told 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman. “The roads are really bad.”
The weight of the snow caused the roof of a Trader Joe’s in Westfield to partially collapse.
Fire officials said it happened just after 2 p.m. When crews arrived on the scene, they found that a significant portion of the store’s roof had collapsed in the center of the building and a secondary collapse caused even more damage, officials said.
The store was closed at the time because of the storm and no one was hurt.
Meanwhile, NJ TRANSIT suspended all of its services at 2 a.m. Saturday. Christie said that was done to get plows onto the train tracks to clear the snow in time for the Monday morning commute.
NJ TRANSIT said bus, light rail and Access Link service will resume when the weather conditions permit. It said rail service would resume when conditions permit and when mandatory federal inspections can be completed.
PATH rail service has been suspended between Newark and Grove Street stations and will resume when weather conditions allow. Service remains available between Grove Street and Hoboken, the World Trade Center and the uptown 33rd Street line in Manhattan.
Newark Liberty and Atlantic City airports are open, but all flights have been cancelled due to the snow and strong winds.
Teterboro Airport is closed due to significant white out conditions.
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