Cold weather coming

The National Weather Service forecast for Wednesday and Thursday includes the chance of snow squalls as bitter cold temperatures and sub-zero wind chills grip the region including New York City, Connecticut, and most of northeast New Jersey.

Very cold wind chills as low as 20 below zero expected. The cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

A wind chill advisory has been issued and New Jersey drivers are warned to watch for black ice on roads.

A wind chill advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken.

If you are going outside, make sure you wear a hat and gloves.

An arctic air mass from the polar vortex will create the coldest air of the winter so far in the Garden State, where the weather is expected to cause more than 20-below-zero wind chill factors in some places.

“Winter weather and a dramatic drop in temperatures are expected today and into this evening and throughout the night,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “When you are on the roads, please use extreme caution and allow road crews plenty of room to keep the roads clear. Once you get home, the best thing to do is to stay in. Our overarching goal is for everyone to get home safe.”

Drivers are reminded to drive with caution, follow the rules of the road, stay alert and anticipate the inclement weather impacting their afternoon and evening commute. Unnecessary travel is not recommended.

“With temperatures falling this afternoon and tonight, our biggest concern is for icy roads,” said Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Our crews will be working all afternoon and through the night to keep roads clear and safe. If you have to be on the roads, give plows and spreaders room to do their job, avoid hilly areas, and use caution as road conditions can change quickly.”

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management in coordination with the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Board of Public Utilities as well as various state agencies will continue to monitor the storm from the State Emergency Operations Center until the event concludes.

“Troopers are ready to assist residents and commuters throughout the state, both on and off of the highways, for the duration of the storm should they be needed,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “We cannot do it without you. Please use caution when traveling and prepare an emergency kit for use at home and for your vehicle.”

“The utilities are making all necessary preparations and the BPU remains in close contact with them as we monitor this storm,” said Board of Public Utilities President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “ We are on high alert for ice and high wind and I urge residents to report any power outages to their utility. A special note of caution: if you see a downed power line, do not touch or attempt to move it – call your local utility for assistance.”

The way to avoid frostbite and hypothermia is to plan for extreme cold before it arrives. Don’t get caught unprepared.

• If possible, adjust your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, typically the early morning. Try to find a warm spot for your children while waiting for the school bus outside.

• If you have pets or farm animals, make sure they have plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to extreme cold. If you’re cold, they’re cold. Bring them inside! For more info visitanimalemergency.nj.gov. Take precautions to ensure your water pipes do not freeze. Know the temperature thresholds of your plants and crops.

• Make sure your car or vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded. Be sure to have an emergency kit for your vehicle.

• Check 511nj.org for traffic updates during your morning and evening commute.

• Dress for the outdoors: Dress for cold weather, even if you think you won’t be outside very long.

• Stay warm! Be a good neighbor! Check on those vulnerable to the cold weather. Visithttps://www.nj211.org/index.php/nj-warming-centers or call NJ 2-1-1 for assistance finding a warming center near you.

• Know how to contact your local power company to report an outage or downed power line. For Public Utilities Information including outage maps visit http://ready.nj.gov/plan-prepare/public-utilities.shtml

• Learn more about how to prepare your family for winter emergencies by visitinghttp://ready.nj.gov/plan-prepare/winter.shtml today!

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management does not make decisions regarding school delayed openings, dismissals, or closures due to weather, so residents should seek updates from their local school district.


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