WEST TRENTON – The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, in coordination with the National Weather Service, is monitoring a major coastal storm expected to impact the state today and tomorrow. The State Emergency Operations Center was activated at 7 a.m. today, and will remain open as long as necessary to meet anticipated challenging conditions. New Jersey emergency management officials anticipate coastal flooding, high wind conditions, snow, sleet, and even blizzard conditions in the northeast corner of the state.
NJ Transit is offering full system wide cross-honoring for the entire service day Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9, enabling customers to use their ticket or pass on an alternate travel mode-rail, light rail or bus. Additional trains will run Friday afternoon on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, Raritan Valley Line, Morris & Essex Lines as well as on the Port Jervis Line. Visit the trip planner located at njtransit.com for further information.
“This is a dangerous storm; and we ask motorists to be careful while driving. There is also the potential for downed trees and wires because of wind conditions,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police and State Director of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management. “[Friday] night’s evening commute will be treacherous throughout much of New Jersey.”
The following is a brief list of general winter weather preparedness tips for motorists:
In your car: All cars should be equipped with road maps or GPS, 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.
Before you go: 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: 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.
Maintain situational awareness about weather events. Below are some tips and resources for staying in-the-know:
On the Web – Use credible websites to get information about natural hazards and emergency preparedness. The NJOEM works closely with the National Weather Service regarding storm predictions and forecasts.
- National Weather Service – http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/phi/
- New Jersey Office of Emergency Management – www.ready.nj.gov
- Office of the NJ State Climatologist, Rutgers – http://climate.rutgers.edu/stateclim/
- American Red Cross – http://www.redcross.org/
- Federal Emergency Management Agency – www.ready.gov
Social Media – Social media and other advanced communications technologies are used by frequently by emergency managers statewide. Find out if your community has a “reverse 9-1-1″ system or if you can opt-in for email updates from municipal officials. “Like” the NJOEM on Facebook, or follow the agency on Twitter.
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/READYNEWJERSEY
- New Jersey Office of Emergency Management on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NJOEM2010
- New Jersey State Police on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/NJSP
- New Jersey State Police on Nixle: http://local.nixle.com/new-jersey-state-police/
NJ Alert – NJ Alert is a free, voluntary and confidential emergency alerting system that allows NJ Office of Emergency Management officials to send E-mail or text messages to cell phones and other email enabled devices during an emergency event. Sign up for NJ Alert by logging on to: www.njalert.gov.
NOAA Weather Radio – is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service Office. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NOAA Weather Radios are typically inexpensive, easily available in stores and can often be programmed for your specific area.
Traditional Media – Continue to monitor traditional media sources – TV, newspapers and radio – to stay informed of breaking news and continued coverage of emergency events.
“Although our state has been no stranger to weather events recently, it’s important to remind everyone that the best time to prepare for a storm is before it hits,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd. “By taking the time to prepare, we can protect the health of our families and friends.”
The Department of Health recommends these tips:
- Have an emergency plan: Every family should have an emergency plan that includes up-to-date contact information such as cell-phones and a centralized meeting place if family members get split up. Plans should also include emergency phone numbers for health care providers.
- Stock up on the essentials: you should have enough food and safety supplies to last for at least three days, including drinking water, canned and non-perishable foods, prescription medicine, baby food and formula (if needed), a stocked first-aid kid, flashlights and extra batteries, battery-powered lanterns, rock-salt and cat litter or sand (to add traction on walkways).
- Stay informed: Your local television or radio news stations can keep you informed. Weather forecasts and other information changes frequently. If you are using a cell phone or smart phone, make sure you have a charger that can be used in your car, in case of power outages.
In the event of a power outage, follow these safety recommendations:
- If the power is out for less than 2 hours, then the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume. While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Throw away perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) in your refrigerator when the power has been off for 2 hours or more.
- Throw away food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Thawed food that contains ice crystals can be refrozen or cooked. Freezers, if left unopened and full, will keep food safe for 48 hours (24 hours if half full).
- Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your house because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Plug in appliances to the generator using individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords.
- Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet because of the risk of electrocution.
- Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
- Use fireplaces or wood stoves only if they are properly vented to the outside.
- Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors – the fumes can be deadly.
- Avoid using candles for light or heat. If you must use them, never leave lit candles unattended.
Due to the inclement weather, the Union County has closed its parks, and parks facilities. Additionally, all county special events and programs scheduled for today have been canceled and postponed until further notice.