TRENTON — With spring officially starting in just over a week, preparation is underway for what could be the biggest storm of the winter.

Chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the exact track of the storm will determine where the heaviest snow will fall, but is calling for over a foot of snow, high winds, blizzard conditions, coastal flooding and beach erosion. "This storm is the real deal,"Zarrow said.

JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano said the utility's meteorologists have been tracking the storm for several days. "We're prepared to activate our storm response plan should outrages occur," Morano said, adding that the utility's website will have outage information should they develop during the course of the storm.

The Department of Transportation is monitoring the forecast, according to spokesman Steve Schapiro, and will intensify their planning for the storm on Monday. "We do have some crews that were brought in (Sunday) to do some prep work on the equipment. Monday" we'll have planning calls and really get into action with what's going to be necessary," Schapiro said.

Snow falls amounts will range from 12-18 inches in North and Central Jersey west of the New Jersey Turnpike, according to Zarrow, with 6-12" expected for most of South Jersey and Monouth & Ocean counties and 0-6 inches in southern Ocean County and the south coast.

Zarrow is expecting "typical" winter storm surges of 2-3 feet from the storm which will be enhanced by Sunday's full moon. "Widespread minor to localized moderate coastal flooding is likely to occur at the times of high tide. As long as this forecast holds, the “usual” areas along coastal waterways will flood, and some road closures may become necessary."

"The coastal flooding for two, possibly three high tides is what we're focused on protecting homes and businesses from," said Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty. North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said Tuesday morning's high tide is what he is keep tabs on. "If that goes to a solid moderate flooding or even major that would be a concern."

Zarrow warned that there could be a time on Tuesday where roads become nearly impassable.

Delta Airlines will allow passengers to make a one-time change to their flight without a fee in many of its affected markets including Newark, LaGuardia, JFK and Philadelphia.


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