Tuesday blizzard: Most Newark flights canceled, NJ wants you off the road
TRENTON — As the hours tick down to the first flakes, New Jersey continues to prepare for the snowstorm that'll start Monday night and get serious Tuesday.
"Forecast models have come to a solid consensus solution for our impending winter storm. This forecast looks to be a lock. New Jersey is going to see a lot of snow within 24 to 36 hours," New Jersey 101.5 Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. "I believe we are going to see more rain/mix and less snow across southern New Jersey than I had previously anticipated."
But it will still be a significant storm for all of the state with impacts on the roads, rails and utilities.
Gov. Chris Christie had a briefing with the heads of the state agencies involved with snow removal including the Department of Transportation, State Police and the Office of the Attorney General.
"This is 7-and-a-half years. I've been through this drill before. We're doing all the normal things we normally do to get ready for a storm," Christie said during a visit to LG Electronics in Englewood Cliffs on Monday.
Snow fall forecasts of 2 to 3 inches per hour and high winds will cause whiteout conditions, making it very challenging for Department of Transportation crews, according to spokesman Steve Scharprio.
"We're recommending that if you don't need to be out (Tuesday) please stay home," he said. "Please stay off the roads and that gives our crews the best chance of keeping the roads clear."
Schapiro said the DOT has their highest level of activation in place to respond to the storm.
"All of our crews, all of our contractors are reporting. All of our spreaders, all of our plows. We're going to have maximum effort ready for this storm," Schapiro said.
Preparation began over the weekend, when crews came in to not only make sure that road equipment is ready but that chain saws and generators are also in good working order.
"We have crews brineing and pre-treating roads where it's necessary" to prevent snow and ice from sticking to the road surface when precipitation starts to fall, he said.
Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy said the county's Office of Emergency Management snow plan has been acitvated and will open their operations center at midnight.
"This will be a heavy, wet snow which oftentimes results in an increase in the number of cardiac emergency calls as well as potential for power outages with heavy wind and heavy wet snow on utility lines," Mastronadry said, adding that officials also be watching the high tide around 9 a.m. in Seaside Heights for any flooding.
“The amount of snow and high winds associated with this storm may bring down trees and power lines. We take every storm with the potential for outages seriously, and have additional personnel scheduled and on standby, with auxiliary equipment at the ready.” John Latka, senior vice president of electric and gas operations for PSE&G said.
JCP&L in a statement said it will have extra line, substation and forestry personnel plus contractors.
"As part of our assessment process, once we know the extent of the storm damage, we can deploy additional crews and resources from our less affected utilities to areas that were hit the hardest," Mark Julian, vice president of utility operations for FirstEnergy said in a statement.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said passengers flying out of Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia should check with their carriers for the status of their flights and has cots and other essential items to help ticketed passengers who get stuck at the airports.
According to FlightAware.com nearly 4,000 flights in-and-out of the United States have been canceled for Tuesday, including 70 percent of the flights scheduled out of Newark as of the early afternoon.
The agency also has hundreds of pieces of equipment ready to liquify snow and clear off airport runways, tunnels and bridges including a "jet engine" plow to remove snow from PATH tracks.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.