NJ hit with first major winter storm of 2018

Happy New Year, New Jersey. Four days into 2018 and we’ve gotten our first blizzard of the season, a bombogenesis, no less. Just about every part of the state was hit with some snow and high winds plus freezing temps. Up to a foot and a half of snow expected in Atlantic City, about that much in Manasquan, but northern counties saw much less — about half a foot, with some seeing even less than that. Still, near white out conditions on the Garden State Parkway, which was closed at various points throughout the day as plows worked feverishly in groups to stay ahead of the steady snow.

New Jersey State Police report responding to more than 300 crashes and more than 700 calls for help from motorists on the highway.

At the Manasquan Inlet, the water was very choppy. The wall was holding, but no signs of any flooding. The wind blew the snow horizontally, and no one was outside. And that’s what it was like for most of the day with really blizzard-like conditions.

Further inland, there were a couple of hardy souls not intimidated by the storm with the scary name.

“I think they’re right on. It is a bomb,” one said. “I got five feet of snow in between my house and my neighbor’s house, so I had to dig out the other side because one side, with the snow drifts, was impossible to get through there. We’re going to walk to Leggett’s right now. Want to go?”

And they weren’t kidding. They walked there and disappeared into the storm.

Paul Wolf of Wall Township manages Leggett’s Sand Bar in Manasquan.

“I’m going to go home and take a nap and then I’m going to come back here and try to clear Leggett’s out because once the snow stops, people are going to want to go out and have a little fun, I think,” said Wolf.

Authorities said they had a lot of advance notice, and with state and local government offices and most school districts closed for the day, snow plows were able to do their jobs. Plows were carrying the day, at least in Belmar, says Mayor Matt Doherty.

“Our DPW has been out since this morning. Even before that, we were outside sanding and salting, brining the roads. We’ll be going all through the night. One challenge we still have in front of us is the wind, depending on whether it picks up or not in the next few hours. My biggest job as the mayor are the power outages. The snow we can handle. Power outages in this type of weather, when it’s this cold, can be very dangerous, especially for our most vulnerable residents,” said Doherty.

In that regard, the state dodged a bullet, the two major utilities reported a couple thousand outages and reported that as of late Thursday afternoon, most of the power had been restored.

While Thursday’s storm did deliver as promised, the real danger is freezing temperatures that are coming over the next few days, and it’s only early January.