Severe Winter Weather Closes Schools, State Offices [AUDIO]
A winter storm continued to dump more than a foot of snow on some parts of New Jersey Tuesday night, grounding thousands of flights, causing hundreds of motor vehicle accidents and leading to the closure of schools and state offices.
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management tweeted that state offices will be closed Wednesday, but all essential employees will still be required to report to work.
This latest snowstorm and more frigid temperatures have winter wearing thin on many New Jersey residents.
With up to a foot or more of precipitation predicted in some spots, residents are once again reaching for their shovels. The snow is expected to be followed by another bout of severe cold temperatures, with the wind chill making it feel like minus-10 degrees Wednesday morning. As of Tuesday night, Manalapan Township in Monmouth County already saw snow totals up to 15 inches as of 9:30 p.m., according to NJ.com.
The entire state is under a Winter Storm Warning through 6 a.m. Wednesday as snow overspreads the area along with high winds that will make travel difficult.
Roads were near gridlock with slow traffic on snow covered roads just before the evening rush hour Tuesday. New Jersey State Police tweeted that they have had 238 reported accidents and 354 motorist aids by 4 p.m. in their patrol areas. In addition, the NJ DOT has requested that State Police tow any abandoned cars off the interstates and state roads until noon on Tuesday.
Governor Christie declared a state of emergency early Tuesday afternoon to allow for easier co-ordination for snow removal. “I encourage all New Jerseyans to stay off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations,” he added in the declaration.
In some areas of intense snow there could be “thundersnow” with lightning and thunder.
A number of schools will release students early from classes today as the snow begins to pick up in intensity. Schools may also close on Wednesday or open later.
The speed on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway has been reduced to 35 MPH for the entire length of both roadways.
After several hours of snow, New Jersey Fast Traffic reported numerous accidents on all of New Jersey’s highways including a jackknifed tractor trailer that closed Interstate 78 westbound at I-287. A disabled truck also closed the ramp from I-195 west to I-295 south for a time.
Earlier this evening, a charter bus crashed down an embankment on I-80 in Roxbury Township, ABC News reported. There were three people on the bus at the time of the crash, and none of the injuries were listed as life-threatening.
New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro told the Star-Ledger that all available equipment had been deployed.
New Jersey Transit will cross-honor tickets system-wide on buses, light rail and trains again on Wednesday and operate on an enhanced weekend schedule except for the Atlantic City Line.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is prepared with extra staff working longer shifts to keep its facilities running through the storm according to a press release.
Nearly 3,000 flights Tuesday were canceled, with airports from Washington to Boston affected. An additional 885 flights for Wednesday were called off as well.
Southwest Airlines will suspend operations at Philadelphia International Airport as of 3 p.m. on Tuesday according to 6 ABC.
The storm at a glance:
- Light snow moves in around late Tuesday morning
- Periods of moderate to heavy snow move in late afternoon, lasting through the first half of Tuesday night.
- Snow tapers off Wednesday morning.
- 10+ inches in central & south Jersey along the Route 1 corridor in Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Salem and Gloucester
- 8-10 inches in southern Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties as well as Somerset, Hunterdon and Morris counties
- 6-8 inches for north Jersey
Winds & Wind Chill
A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect on Wednesday morning from 1 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Tues: northeast winds15-25 MPH with gusts of 35-40 MPH changing to north and northwest early Wednesday morning
- Temperatures in the teens and 20s today drop to the single digits tonight making for a wind chill of -10.
Whether it’s paying a neighborhood child to clean off your walkway or doing the shoveling yourself, the brutal winter is also hitting people’s wallets.
- Get Alan Kasper’s latest storm forecast
With temperatures dipping down into the teens, the man’s children can’t play outside for long.
“They’re playing inside, going to Chuck E. Cheese, stuff like that,” he said.
Costs are starting to add up for many people.
“I don’t how I’m going to pay for it, I really don’t, and my house is cold,” another man said.
However, some are trying to be optimistic and enjoy the winter.
“It’s give or take,” said a Toms River resident. “I’ll go snowboarding if it snows.”
Another woman from the same town said she likes having different seasons, and reminds us that it could always be much worse.
“It’s winter, what are you going to do?” the woman said. “Look at Wisconsin, they have feet and feet of it, so I don’t think we should complain too much.”
- N.J. snow timing means ‘nightmarish’ evening commute, forecasters say / Star-Ledger
- Snow watch: NJ Transit, Port Authority planning for latest winter storm / Star-Ledger
- Winter Blast to Deliver Up to 14 Inches, Followed by Brutal Cold / NBC 4 New York
- Philadelphia airport prepares for winter storm; Southwest to suspend operations at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday / 6 ABC
The Associated Press contributed to this report