The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties. The warning is in effect from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
The storm is expected to move northward beginning Saturday morning, bringing snow with average accumulations reaching between 4-8 inches. Snowfall could be heavy at times, according to the warning, and may combine with gusty winds to cause dangerous travel conditions on Saturday and Saturday evening.
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A winter storm watch is in effect from Saturday through Sunday morning for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union counties. Conditions will create the potential for a period of heavy snow and gusty winds, with the greatest likelihood for severe conditions along the coast and in the New York City metropolitan area. Snow accumulations of five to 10 inches and wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour are possible.
Forecasters were still not certain of the track the storm would take on Friday afternoon. If the storm moves east, New Jersey would receive less snow. A shift westward would bring more snow.
The storm is expected to put a damper on weekend holiday shopping and travel plans, but officials will be working to minimize the impact as much as possible.
New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority are making preparations to keep New Jersey’s mass transit systems operational this weekend.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “We’re working hard to make sure travelers get to their holiday destinations safely and on time. We’ve invested in the most state-of-the-art snow fighting equipment to give our operations staff the tools they need to battle the upcoming winter weather.”
Edison Township’s Department of Public Works has mobilized their equipment and staff in preparation for the storm. Township officials reminded residents to remove all vehicles parked on township streets before the storm begins.
The state’s Office of Emergency Management offered winter weather preparedness tips:
Travel Items to Include: All cars should be equipped with road maps, a cell phone, a shovel, a windshield scraper, a towrope, booster cables, and a brightly colored cloth to use as a distress signal. A bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter to spread under tires if stuck in snow is also recommended.
Proper Travel Notification: Drivers should inform someone that they are taking a trip, where they are going, the routes that will be traveled and when they are expected to return. Upon reaching their destination, drivers should call to report arrival. If traveling a long distance, please remember to fill up on fuel prior to making your trip. While traveling, stop frequently to refill the fuel tank. The breaks will help drivers stay alert.
On the Road: Always follow the rules of the road and adhere to the following guidelines:
• Always buckle your seat belt.
• Brake properly to avoid skidding. If driving on snow or ice, start slowly and brake gently. Begin braking early when approaching an intersection.
• If the vehicle starts to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until regaining traction, and then straighten the vehicle. For vehicles with antilock brakes, apply steady pressure.
• Visibility and speed:
– In fog, drive with headlights set on dim or use fog lights.
– In rain, fog, snow or sleet, stay within the limits of your vision. If it is too difficult to see, pull off the road and stop.
– Drive slowly and increase following distance. Vehicle speed should adjust for conditions and match the flow of traffic.
– Watch for slick spots. Be physically and mentally prepared to react.
• A winter weather safety guide can be found on the official New Jersey Office of Emergency Management website at http://www.ready.nj.gov/plan/winter.html.
“By proactively preparing for winter weather before the first snow flakes fall, you are helping to protect yourself and your family from the winter elements that we sometimes encounter in our great state,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police and director of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.
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