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How New Jersey Ranks on Snow Removal

Jeff Zelavansky, Getty Images

I’ve lived in 4 different states and worked in two more in my life. Each deals with winter weather differently. Here are my thoughts on how they each handle storms:


Wisconsin

Wisconsinites aren’t phased by winter. It’s a way of life. Some Midwesterners even enjoy the chance to go ice fishing and ride their snowmobiles. They’re used to having to get around on less than ideal roads, but the roads are usually pretty good, since snow removal is pretty routine for municipalities. It also takes a lot to close Wisconsin schools. Recently, a number of school districts closed because of cold. You think it was cold here in NJ a few weeks ago? They had windchills of 50 below zero!


Connecticut & Massachusetts

I lived in CT for about 7 years, and worked in MA for 3 of those years. Based on that experience, I can tell you this unequivocally – New England winters are not fun. The season usually starts pretty early, with temperatures falling in the weeks after Labor Day, and lasts well into spring. September snow isn’t unusual. That being said, they do a great job of handling snow. The plows are usually on the highways as the first flakes are falling, and making multiple passes on the same roads throughout the storm. If you have to go out, the roads are usually pretty well maintained.


Pennsylvania

PA is an odd state – the Eastern end of the state is metropolitan and suburban, with the Philadelphia influence. The Western part of the state is the gateway to the Midwest with farms and factories. In the Northern part of the state, you get into the beautiful Pocono mountains, and the Southern border of PA is, literally, the Mason-Dixon line. I can speak to Central Pennsylvania, I lived in Harrisburg for 4 years. If I had to grade Central PA’s storm preparedness, I’d give them a C+. They do fine. It’s not the smooth sailing that you get in the heart of the Midwest and New England, but I feel like they try and do the best that they can. The highways are usually pretty well taken care of, but once you get on to secondary roads, you’re rolling the dice.


Maryland & Washington, DC

I worked in MD and DC for about a year and a half. I only had to commute down there through one winter and it was a relatively quiet season, so I can’t really make a fair judgement on their winter weather habits.


New Jersey

Oh, New Jersey. The state I grew up in and returned to after being away for a good decade. I love NJ, I really do. But there aren’t a lot of positive things that I can say about The Garden State’s handling of winter weather. You’d think, being in the Northeast, that we’d be well prepared for severe snow. Granted, going into winter we never know what we’re going to get. We’ve had seasons where there were only a few minor snowfalls, and others with epic storms; snow, ice, and messy, slushy results. But I feel like the major highways are neglected during storms.

During the first big storm of this winter, back in December, I had plans to stay in Atlantic City. The trip down the Parkway was literally one of the worst I’ve ever had to drive. And we waited for the snow to stop before heading out, so it wasn’t due to poor visibility from falling snow. Cars were literally driving about 30mph in the tire tracks of the vehicles ahead of them (except for the occasional idiot who thought they were invincible in their SUVs) because the lanes hadn’t been plowed. A trip that normally takes around an hour was a nearly three hour, white-knuckle excursion because one of our main arteries hadn’t been touched well after the snow had ended.

I don’t mean to pick on New Jersey, I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.

But hey, the good news heading into the next storm – word is spreading that the disappearing road salt supplies have been replenished.

So how would you rate the handling of winter weather where you’ve lived? Tell us in the comments section!

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