Winter’s Bluster: Fallen trees and wires, delayed openings
TRENTON -- Winter weather had an effect on New Jersey's morning commute Monday, with many North Jersey schools delaying the opening of school for a third straight school day.
A combination of snow, black ice and high winds led some districts to make the decision on Sunday night, while others made a late decision on Monday morning after a check of local road conditions.
"We've already seen a few wind gusts over 50 mph in New Jersey this morning, and there's a lot more wind on the way today. Black ice is also a big problem this morning, with numerous slick spots being reported," Townsquare New Jersey Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said.
Over 8,200 customers remain in the dark thanks to the high winds bringing down branches and trees as of 4 p.m. JCP&L reported over 7,100 customers without power, mostly in Morris and Sussex counties, according to its outage map, while PSE&G reported over 1,121 customers without service centered in Union and Burlington counties. Atlantic City Electric had around 200 customers without power.
"On a day like today typically what you'll see is as we restore customers we have additional outages so we have crews out responding restoring customers and then as additional outages come up we move onto the next outage," JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano said.
Morano said to stay away from downed wires and report them to local police or directly to the utility.
NJ Transit's Gladstone branch was back in service by 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon after a tree that fell on the overhead wires near the Bernardsville station was removed. "I don't have exact measurements but it was a pretty big tree," spokesman Jennifer Nelson said.
The Morris & Essex line was back to normal as well after a tree fell across the wires in Morris Plains at the start of Monday's commute.
Amtrak warned of possible delays on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Boston because of over a foot of snow that fell in southern New England overnight.
Speed on the Garden State Parkway was reduced to 45 mph between Exit 124 in Sayreville and the New York state border but has returned to normal. Downed wires on Route 1 blocked two lanes near North Oaks Boulevard in North Brunswick early in the morning commute but all lanes were reopened by the end of the morning commute.
New Jersey Fast Traffic's Bob Williams said even before you leave the driveway, it will take extra time to chip away the ice off windshields.
"Wind gusts are very unpredictable, so play it safe. Two hands on the wheel, especially on bridges and open areas like the Turnpike south of Exit 9," Williams said.
FlightAware.com reported 2,339 delayed flights as of 6 a.m., with 124 flights in and out of Newark Liberty International Airport already canceled.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
More from New Jersey 101.5: