Here’s what you need to know in Ocean County, NJ ahead of impending blizzard
What the final snowfall totals will be are obviously yet to be determined but it continues to look more and more likely, it'll be several inches and even up to a foot or more in some spots depending on how the storm tracks Friday night into Saturday.
Before the first snowflakes fall and winds get gusty, now is the time to prepare and make sure you have everything you need to navigate this nasty storm -- from a shoveling snow and cleanup perceptive to having the food and supplies needed to bunker down while the storm rides on through Ocean County, the Jersey Shore and beyond.
You can use the January 3 storm as a practice run for what looks to be something much more intense over the next 36-48 hours.
For an updated look at what's to come, check out Meteorologist Dan Zarrow's forecast and reports.
As for preparation and cleanup with this storm, Ocean County officials are ready to go.
“Ocean County is prepared to handle winter weather whether it be snow, ice, a wintry mix or storms," Ocean County Commissioner Director John P. Kelly, liaison to the Ocean County Road Department, said in a statement on Friday. “Our County departments work in partnership to assure safety on our roads and continued accessibility to our programs and services.”
While your town/municipality will be taking care of the local roads, the Ocean County Road Department and Bridge Departments is geared up to send out about 200 trucks and other vehicles and about 175 employees to salt and clear roads during the storm, explains Ocean County Road Department Supervisor, Scott Waters.
“We started brining our roads Thursday morning,” Waters said in a statement “Once the snow starts, we will put down salt and follow with plowing. We anticipate working throughout the night and during the duration of the storm until all county roads are plowed.”
There is plenty of salt to prevent freezing, re-freezing and any other possible road woes as well. Ocean County is ready to go with 30,000 tons of treated salt which is mixed with calcium chloride.
As was the case on January 3, Waters explains that once the snow really starts coming down, the plows will be out to clean up starting with the 500 series of county roads and other main roads including Hooper Avenue in Toms River and Route 571, which stretches through Toms River and Jackson and crews will also be out along Southern Ocean County including Route 539.
“We start with these main roads and work our way to the secondary roads,” Waters said.
When the snow starts falling, that's your cue to make it back home if you aren't there already because as the storm progresses, things will get bad and you shouldn't be out there navigating through it unless you're essential personnel.
“Being on the roads during this kind of forecasted storm when it’s not necessary puts you in harms’ way along with our road crews, police and emergency responders that have to be out,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Because it’s the weekend I urge our residents to stay home if you can.”
Meanwhile, the Ocean County Sheriff's Office and OC Office of Emergency Management will be out in full force in a variety of roles during the storm and responding to calls as well.
“We ask that residents only call 911 when there is an emergency,” Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy said in a statement. “Please do not call the 911 call center for information on the weather or road conditions, the lines need to stay clear for medical and public safety emergencies.”
Here are some safety and storm prep tips from the
Ocean County Office of Emergency Management:
· Stay inside.
· Close off unoccupied rooms in the home.
· DO NOT use charcoal burning devices.
· Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers as needed to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.
· Set the thermostat in your house no lower than fifty-five degrees.
· Allow a slow trickle of water to flow from both the hot and cold water faucets, especially if the faucet is on an exterior wall.
· Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes and appliances near exterior walls.
· Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat high caloric foods.
· Do not drive unless the roads have been cleared by snowplows. If you need transportation for a critical medical treatment or a critical prescription filled, call the Ocean County Sheriff's Department, Office of Emergency Management at (732) 341-3451 or toll free (800) 331-8152.