New Jersey's stormiest winter in years has topped itself.
A potent, hard-charging nor'easter slammed New Jersey Thursday as the state braced for nearly 24 hours of snow, mixed precipitation, high winds, rain and coastal flooding.
Governor Christie declared a state of emergency and announced the closing of state offices on Thursday for all non-essential employees. Local communities were telling residents to move their cars to high ground, and schools in New Brunswick and elsewhere already canceled Thursday.
"The heavy snow will create hazardous travel conditions across the state,” said Christie, in a statement. “I’ve authorized state officials to continue all necessary actions, and my administration will monitor conditions throughout the remainder of the storm.
"I encourage all New Jerseyans to drive carefully and remain off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations.”
The nor'easter storm is expected to continue into Friday morning, bringing dangerous and icy conditions that will affect travel throughout the state for several days. A potential mixture of fallen trees, power outages and flooding is anticipated.
Snowfall amounts will range from several inches, to as high as 14 inches, across the New Jersey. Areas north and west of the I-95 are expected to see the highest snowfall totals.
"With approximately 9,000 plus driveways in Town, I wish that there could be a way to avoid the wave of snow from the plow, but it just physically isn’t possible. To save yourself from having to re-shovel your driveway apron and in some cases your sidewalk, you may want to wait until the plows have completed your street before starting to shovel if this is at all possible for you."
The following weather events are expected in most areas of New Jersey:
1. Snow should start between midnight and 3 a.m. Thursday morning with it continuing through the morning rush. There could be an inch or two of snow accumulation during this time period.
2. The Thursday morning rush will be difficult as most likely roads will be snow covered and icy. Also, moderate snow will greatly reduce visibility.
3. Snow should change over to a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain during Thursday morning. Also, there is a possibility of the wintry mix changing to just plain rain during Thursday afternoon, before switching back to sleet and snow Thursday evening.
4. Snow and sleet Thursday evening should end as a period of all snow prior to sunrise Friday morning.
5. Winds will increase Wednesday night and by Thursday morning, will be sustained at 20 to 25mph with gust up to 40mph. These strong winds combined with the wintry mix of precipitation will lead to the possibility of power outages.
6. Minor coastal flooding could occur along the bayfront and lagoon areas of both towns with the high tide cycle of Thursday morning.
The following is a list of general winter preparedness tips, a detailed list of actions to take can be found on the NJOEM website at:
At home: Have your heating system checked by a professional once a year. Make sure your home is properly insulated. Protect pipes from freezing, inspect and flush your water heater, replace smoke detector batteries.
Power Outages: Call your utility to determine area repair schedules. Remember to turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when the power returns. To protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning, never operate generators or use charcoal to cook indoors, In addition, do not use your gas oven to heat your home and only use space heaters with proper ventilation.
Pets: Create a place where your pets can be comfortable in severe winter weather, or bring pets indoors.
In the Neighborhood: If someone you know is elderly or dependent on life-sustaining or health-related equipment such as a ventilator, respirator or oxygen concentrator, make plans NOW to ensure their needs are met during severe winter weather and possible power outages. Check
on them after a storm or power outage.
On the road: Winterize your vehicle to avoid breakdowns. Have a mechanic check key vehicle systems. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Always wear a seat belt. Brake properly to avoid skidding. Be alert for snowplows.
Outside: During a snowstorm, stay inside - long periods of exposure to severe cold increase the risk of frostbite or hypothermia. If you must go outside, dress in many layers of clothing with a hat, mittens or gloves, and a scarf to cover your mouth. Most body heat is lost through
the top of the head, so always wear a hat. Mittens are better than gloves, because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other. A scarf worn over your mouth will protect your lungs from extreme cold.