State of Emergency Declared as Winter Storm Begins
Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency as a massive winter storm threatens New Jersey, promising to dump up to two feet of snow on some parts of the Garden State.
With blizzard conditions expected to impede travel throughout the state, Christie is urging residents to stay off the roads, so that crews can work on salting and clearing the roads.
"Starting later this afternoon, you should stay home if you can," Christie said during a press conference Monday.
A State of Emergency authorizes the NJ director of Emergency Management to activate and coordinate the preparation, response and recovery efforts for the storm with all county and municipal emergency operations and governmental agencies, according to a press release issued by the Christie Administration.
The governor has authorized a staggered dismissal at 1 p.m. In addition, state offices will be closed Tuesday for all non-essential personnel.
“The impending weather conditions over the course of the afternoon will produce a variety of dangerous travel conditions throughout the state,” Christie said. “I’ve authorized state officials to take all necessary action in advance of the storm, and my Administration will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. I encourage all New Jerseyans to use every caution as they travel today and to remain off the roads whenever possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations.”
NJ Transit service will also be shut down at 10 p.m. this evening as the storm continues.
The storm is expected to continue into the evening, bringing heavy snow accumulations, mixed precipitation, strong winds and freezing temperatures.
New Jersey's utilities are also mobilizing workers ahead of the storm, which could cause downed power lines.
Public Service Electric and Gas senior vice president John Latka says heavy snow and strong winds increase the possibility of power outages. PSE&G says it has reached out to 100 mutual assistance linemen. In addition, Jersey Central Power and Light also has mobilized approximately 100 additional linemen and will centralize restoration efforts at its Red Bank headquarters.
- Road crews are salting major highways and speed restrictions are in effect. Speed is restricted to 45 mph on the entire stretch of the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike.
- NJ Transit is cross-honoring tickets systemwide through Wednesday. Crews are standing by to respond to downed trees, power outages or other issues. NJ Transit is positioning locomotives at strategic locations to rapidly respond in the event of a disabled train.
- Amtrak is planning to operate a normal schedule, but passengers should be prepared for delays and cancellations.
- NY Waterway will offer an early ferry to Belford at 1:15 p.m. Monday. It will cancel its last two trips, and the final ferry will leave Pier 11 at 6:15 p.m.
- Seastreak has modified its schedules.
- United said that it has canceled all flights in and out of Newark Liberty International on Tuesday.
- Other flights are expected to be delayed or canceled Monday.
- Towns along New Jersey's coast are expected to be the hardest hit by the storm, and Jersey shore communities are watching out for flooding.
- The storm is expected to cause moderate flooding in oceanfront communities between midnight and 1 a.m.
- Back bay areas tend to flood several hours after the oceanfront high tide. The weather service says some property damage could occur, and tides and wave action will cause severe beach erosion.
- Parts of the shore that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy now have man-made dunes, rocks or metal walls. But other cities still have not agreed to protective dunes, and some are fighting the state's plans for them in court.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.