Roof ripped off, train lines suspended, power outages as nor’easter kicks into gear
TRENTON — Thousands were without power mid-day Monday as gusty winds from the nor'easter knocked down trees and wires all over New Jersey.
As of 2:50 p.m., more than 28,000 customers were in the dark, with the Jersey Shore the hardest hit. JCP&L reported 17,561 customers without power. Another 4,401 PSE&G customers and 6.527 Atlantic City Electric customers were without power as well.
JCP&L spokesman Scott Surgeoner said crews were prepared early to head out and make restorations.
"We've got extra forestry crews working with us and we have some contractor crews working with us as well," Surgeoner said.
The outages led to traffic lights going dark and police directing traffic at many intersections including along Route 70 in Manchester, Route 35 in Keyport and Route 36 in West Long Branch. Fallen trees blocked 2 lanes on the 42 Freeway in South Jersey and completely closed Route 9 in Lakewood.
The wind also caused the membrane of a beachfront structure in Long Branch to separate from a structure but no injuries were reported, according to Long Branch firefighters.
A tree fell onto overhead wires of NJ Transit's Morris & Essex Line between Maplewood and Dover, causing service to be suspended. The AirTrain at Newark Airport was also suspended due to "poor weather conditions," according to NJ Transit.
Most schools held classes as scheduled but some canceled after-school and evening activities. Many churches have also canceled evening events.
"The highest wind gusts I've seen so far have been close to 60 mph along the coast in Monmouth and Ocean counties. That qualifies as a 'severe' wind gust," said meteorologist Dan Zarrow. "That exceeds our forecast by a bit. It's going to be a bumpy ride this afternoon and evening, and we may be dealing with widespread power outages later."
New Jersey Fast Traffic's Bob Williams said to "leave room for the big rigs and buses on the highway" as they will tend to weave and sway as the wind increases.
"Your full attention has to be on the road," he said.
Here’s what you’ll need to know all day long:
WEATHER: Keep an eye on Dan Zarrow’s blog. Unlike some weather forecasters, Dan’s now about to hype news he’s not sure of. He’ll tell you what he knows, what he does’t, and why — there’s no better way to keep on top of the storm as it develops.
POWER: PSE&G customers: See PSE&G’s power map for outages and report downed trees, gas leaks, other emergencies or outages to 800-436-PSEG. JCP&L customers: See JCP&L’s map for outages. Call in issues to 888-LIGHTSS or report your outage online. Atlantic City Electric customers: See Atlantic City Electric’s map or call 800-833-7476 for any issues.
SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Announcements are updated in real-time at WOBM.com/closings. Are you a school official? You can register your district at the link as well.
USING A GENERATOR? Here’s how to keep safe. Carbon monoxide poisoning caused five New Jersey deaths in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com