STATE — Almost two feet of snow covered much of New Jersey as the season’s first major storm blanketed the state Sunday.
According to the National Weather Service, the deepest snow was recorded in Elizabeth, where 31 inches fell. Blizzard conditions dumped about 21 inches on most of Union County and south beyond New Brunswick.
The State Capitol received 14½ inches, New York City got about 18 inches, and 16.9 inches were repotred at Yankee Stadium.
Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno are out of state, so acting Governor and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney on Sunday, Dec. 26 signed an emergency declaration order.
He released a statement saying, “It is vital that police and public works crews are able to do their jobs. I urge all residents to take this declaration and this storm seriously, and to stay safe, stay home and stay off the roads.”
Sweeney said officials will continue monitoring the situation with the help of the State Police and transportation agencies.
The following morning, Sweeney said, “The snow may have ended, but the high winds will continue to keep things treacherous. The state of emergency remains in full effect.”
Officials urged all residents to stay off the roads as state offices closed for the day crews have been working nonstop to clear snow and help stranded motorists.
“The most important thing for residents to do today is to stay safe,” Sweeney said. “If you have elderly neighbors, please check in on them to make sure they are safe.”
All non-essential Middlesex County offices were closed for Monday, Dec. 27 and set to reopen Tuesday, Dec. 28. The County of Union had a two-hour work delay on Monday, while paratransit services were suspended.
Area airports were closed but expected to open by afternoon, although the Federal Aviation Administration predicted flight delays are expected into the week.
Too late for a white Christmas, the storm disrupted plans for thousands of post-holiday travelers and those trying to take advantage of traditional bargains at stores.
Westfield Public Works Superintendent Claude Schaffer reported that the main streets in town are open but said many secondary roads are impassable.
Cranford Mayor Mark Smith urged residents not to use a snow blowers to put snow back into plowed streets.
“Use common sense, keep off the roads, stay inside,” warned Smith. “With the wind, there’s always the possibility of falling tree branches and power lines.”
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