STATE – As residents continue the cleanup process after Hurricane Irene, Gov. Chris Christie said that the storm likely caused “billions of dollars” if not “tens of billions of dollars” to the U.S. economy.
Hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents remain without power, and utilities warn that it could be days before service is fully restored to all customers. As of 5:30 a.m., 265,000 PSE&G customers remained without service, but the utility had restored power to more than 240,000 customers affected by the storm. Jersey Central Power & Light is also reporting numerous outages, including more than 25,000 in Middlesex County as of 9 a.m.
Travel restrictions imposed by Union and Middlesex counties and some of their municipalities have been lifted, but drivers are still advised to be cautious of downed power lines, fallen trees and local flooding. NJ Transit has restored limited bus and light rail service, but with the exception of the Atlantic City line, rail service remains suspended until further notice. Full PATH Train service has been restored by the Port Authority.
Because of the anticipated commuting difficulties, Christie told residents last night, “If you don’t have to go to work tomorrow, don’t go to work tomorrow.”
“Boil water” advisories remain in effect for residents of South Amboy, West Orange, Short Hills, Millburn, Maplewood, Irvington, Springfield, Summit. In South Amboy, a 16-inch water main broke yesterday morning. The remaining communities are affected by flooding at New Jersey American Water’s Canoe Brook Treatment Plant in Millburn.
Many New Jersey court facilities are closed today, including the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth. IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers located in Fairfield, Jersey City, Paramus and Mays Landing are also closed today. State Motor Vehicle Commission agencies and inspection stations will open at noon, with the exception of locations in Plainfield, Randolph and South Brunswick. Drivers whose licenses, permits, or registrations were due to expire at the end of the month have until Sept. 10 to renew them.
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services urges all residents to throw away any food that may have come in contact with flood or storm waters and individuals that have suffered power outages should keep their refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
For additional information on food safety and power outages, visit http://www.nj.gov/health/er/natural.shtml and http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/recovery.asp.
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