Weekend weather

| 20 Jan 2019 | 12:46

Saturday night's snow, and Sunday morning's rain have left slippery patches, and flooded areas on some roadways, but the main weather concern on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019 is the big freeze that is anticipated to arrive Sunday night. Some entities, such as the Sparta Public Library, closed on Sunday, in anticipation of hazardous driving conditions. The Garden State officially went into emergency mode at noon on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, as NJ Governor Phil Murphy issued a State of Emergency, and the Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) center in West Trenton was activated.
"We'll be staffed around-the-clock throught the event," said NJOEM Public Information Officer Laura Connolly.
There are currently a couple of hundred residences without power in Sussex County, and about 6,000 across New Jersey.
At this point Connolly advises staying off the roads, and preparing now for what's still up ahead as temperatures drop.
"Charge cell phones and other electronics now," she said from the center at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. NJOEM reiterated that message on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019; keep ahead of this afternoon's and this evening's freeze-over, by being prepared.
Connolly noted that preparing now also includes figuring out in advance exactly how to report an outage in your area.
She said that many people are wrongly under the impression that the power companies automatically know when and where residents experience outages. But power companies rely on residents to report outages, and have made it very easy to do so, whether it's by web, text, or phone. Those reported outages, in turn, are used by the power companies to help determine where to focus attention. So it's best not to assume that just because a neighbor called, you shouldn't. Everyone who has an outage should notify the local power company.
"That way the company can know if it's just your area, or if it's a whole substation that's affected," she said.
JCP&L advises that ice, rain, and snow can topple power lines. It's urgent to avoid all downed lines. Always assume any downed power line may be live, so do not walk over it, touch it, or drive over it. JCP&L asks that all downed lines are immediately reported, by calling 1-888-544-4877 or by calling 911.
PSEG outages can be reported by texting "Out" to 4PSEG (47734) or by calling 1-800-436-7734, or visiting the web site PSEG.com.
It's important to take the time in advance to know where local warming centers are, as well as remembering that pets should be kept warm, too.
"Don't leave pets outside. Think of pets as part of the family. If you're cold outside, then your pet should be brought inside, too," Connolly said.
She also emphasized turning around, rather than driving through flooded areas.
"They may be deeper than you think, so obey traffic directions and alerts." she said.
As far as snow removal, remember to stay safe, and also to clear the area around fire hydrants.
When shoveling, dress in layers, and remember it's important to avoid over exertion, and to drink liquids.
The New Jersey Department of Public Information (NJDOT) already has more than 1,850 plows ready on. As of Saturday evening, the NJDOT asked that all stay off the roads, if possible, and NJDOT has issued restrictions on commercial vehicle travel for; I-80, I-287, I-I95, I-295, and I-78 (Exit 60 through Exit 76).
NJDOT has more than 1,850 plows & spreaders activated & ready. As of Sunday morning, Jan. 20, 2019, all travel restrictions have been lifted by the NJ State Police, except for I-287 northbound from I-80 to the New York State Line as of 7 am, Sunday Jan. 20. Road conditions and closures continue to change, so check back with SpartaIndependent.com and the NJDOT web site, as well as readynj.com.
Byram Township advised that travel will be hazardous or even impossible on some roads on Sunday, and it is recommended travelers call 511 for weather updates. 8:41 a.m. update: There is dangerous icing west of I-80, at Exit 27 in Mount Olive and it continues west of Exit 35, therefore use extra caution when driving in this area.
The NJ Attorney General's Office reminds residents and businesses that items should not go up in price due to storms. The AG office requests that anyone suspecting illegal price hikes on gasy, food, lodging, generators or other items should alert the Division of Consumer Affairs by calling (973) 504-6240.
Stay updated on the storm by following @ReadyNJ, www.SpartaIndependent.com, and www.nj211.org. For specifics on traffic closures, and reopenings, check the web site https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/.