UPDATE: Could be Wednesday Before Power Fully Restored
This is neither a trick, nor a treat! The National Weather Service is warning us to brace for a shocking snowstorm that could drop 8-12 inches of snow across the region.
Update 11:40 p.m.
As of 11 p.m. Saturday, 17,822 Jersey Central Power & Light customers were without power in Union County, including:
- 6,863 customers in Summit
- 4,782 customers in Berkeley Heights
- 2,935 customers in New Providence
- 1,816 customers in Springfield
- 1,294 customers in Murray Hill
- 72 customers in Mountainside
- 57 customers in Watchung
- 2 customers in Chatham
- 1 customer in Short Hills
For PSE&G customers, more than 30,000 customers in the same territory were also in the dark, including:
- As many as 10,000 in Plainfield
- As many as 5,000 customers in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Clark, Rahway and Union
- As many as 2,000 customers in Linden, Roselle Park, Elizabeth, Hillside, Cranford and Mountainside
- As many as 500 in Springfield and Kenilworth
Because of the number of damaged trees and downed power lines, PSE&G says it could be Wednesday before power is fully restored.
PSE&G reminds residents that downed wires should always be considered “live.” Residents should not approach or drive over a downed line and not touch anything that it might be in contact with. To report a downed wire and other visible equipment damage, call 1-800-436-PSEG and tell PSE&G the nearest cross street.
To report a power outage, call PSE&G’s Customer Service line: 1-800-436-PSEG.
Electric crews work to restore power to the largest numbers of customers first, taking into account “priority” customers, such as hospitals, police stations, fire stations, water and sewer facilities, communications facilities (TV, radio, and telephone), and customers on life-sustaining medical equipment, according to a news release on the company's website At the same time, the utility restores power to homes and businesses, starting with the circuits serving the largest number of customers.
Across the state, more than 600,000 people lost power Saturday, which resulted in Gov. Chris Christie declaring a state of emergency in New Jersey.
Update 8:17 p.m.
After declaring a State of Emergency earlier this evening, Governor Chris Christie addressed New Jersey residents via phone interviews on three television networks Saturday night.
Christie said 600,000 are without power in New Jersey and that number will continue to go up before it goes back down. He also stated that the snow won’t taper off in this area until about midnight. For more on Christie's address, click here.
Update 7:50 p.m.
Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency for New Jersey and is urging residents to stay off the roads. He is encouraging residents also to tune in to your local NYC TV stations as he will be providing storm updates on all three major networks.
Update 6 p.m.
As of 6 p.m. Saturday, power outages continue to rise across Union County. PSE&G is reporting more than 200,000 customers without power across the state, of which more than 10,000 customers are in the dark in Union County, including:
- Between 5,000 and 10,000 customers each in Westfield and Plainfield
- Between 2,000 and 5,000 customers each in Rahway, Scotch Plains and Union
- Up to 2,000 customers each in Linden, Elizabeth, Clark, Cranford and New Providence
PSE&G spokeswoman Melissa Ficuciello said outage numbers continue to climb as the snow continues to fall.
"We do not give any specifics out during a storm of this magnitude," she said in phone interview Saturday night. As far as when power will be restored, Ficuciello said: "I don't have any firm time but they are saying as long as Monday."
Ficuciello said outages are likely the result of heavy snow weighing on the lines or weighing on the trees that then fall onto power lines.
Jersey Central Power & Light is also reporting about 80,000 outages across the state. It's outage map on the website has been down for most of the afternoon due to routine maintenance, according to a message on the website.
The heavy, dense snow is also affecting New Jersey Transit.
- The Raritan Valley Line service is temporarily suspended between Union and Newark Penn Station. Bus service is being provided.
- The Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line service is restored in and out of New York subject to 30 minute delays due to signal problems. Rail tickets/passes being cross-honored on PATH at Hoboken, Newark and 33rd Street, and on NJT buses.
- Service on the Morris & Essex Line is suspended in both directions due to weather related power problems. Cross honoring NJT & PATH and private carriers, EXCEPT Lakeland.
- The Montclair Branch service is suspended in both directions due to weather-related problems.
Area airports are also reporting delays. Check your flight status online before heading there if you have travel plans.
The National Weather Service's winter storm warning remains in effect until 2 a.m. Sunday. Emergency Management officials across Union County are urging residents to stay at home and off the roads due to dangerous driving conditions and downed trees and power lines throughout the region.
Update 2:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service has upgraded the winter weather advisory to a winter storm warning that is expected to bring heavy snow and wind to Union County through 2 a.m. Sunday.
The historic early season snowstorm is affecting the tri-state region and could drop anywhere between 8-12 inches of snow. Downed trees and power outages are also expected and traffic will be extremely hazardous after dark, according to the National Weather Service.
As of 2:30 p.m., nearly 5,000 Jersey Central Power and Light customers are without power in Union County, including:
- 1,252 customers in Berkeley Heights
- 890 customers in Murray Hill
- 1,302 customers in New Providence
- 134 customers in Springfield
- 1,134 customers in Summit
PSE&G is also reporting major outages, including:
- Between 2,000 and 5,000 outages in Scotch Plains
- Between 500 and 2,000 outages in Clark
- Between 2,000 and 5,000 outages in Union
- About 500 outages each in Cranford and Westfield
Downtown Westfield is reported to be without power. Police and Fire departments are out in droves across Union County.
The Union County First Alert system is encouraging residents to stay indoors due to downed trees and power lines. To sign up for First Alert emails and text messages, click here: http://www.ucfirstalert.org/index.php?CCheck=1
NJ TRANSIT UPDATE: Morris & Essex Line, Gladstone Branch, and Montclair Branch service is suspended in both directions due to weather-related problems. Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line service is subject to 30-minute delays in/out of New York due to signal problems. Cross honoring on NJT bus and PATH. The Raritan Valley Line service is temporarily suspended between Union and Newark Penn Station. Bus service is being provided. Slippery rails are expected to cause continued delays.
It's a "don't kill the messenger" moment for Patch as we bring you this important news alert.
We know you're thinking about running to the store to stock up on Halloween candy or finish your costume, but the National Weather Service is urging Union County residents —and the rest of your north Jersey neighbors — to prepare for a sudden nor'easter that could drop as much as a foot of snow on the area. The storm is expected to begin at 9 a.m. today and run through 2 a.m. Sunday morning.
So even before you've finished raking leaves, you'll have to dig out the shovels, snow blowers and road salt from the back of the garage to combat the storm's potential aftermath. If the storm does make its entrance, check with the usual sources to see if sporting events, Halloween activities and other happenings are postponed or rescheduled.
A note of caution: Winter storms generally deposit the white stuff on leafless branches and the limbs can handle the snow's weight. But Fall hasn't finished blanketing our yards with leaves, so branches will could get heavy, snap off and fall to the ground. Be careful around trees and, if you can, get the cars out from under large trees. Also, cardiologists call this heavy snow, "heart-attack snow," because of the effort required to clear the wet snow (and the leaves that will come up with it) by hand, so take regular breaks to avoid any undue stress as you shovel.
The storm, which began dumping snow in the Poconos Friday night, is powerful. Here's the expected timeline from the National Weather Service for our area:
9 a.m. — Light rain, wintry mix of sleet and snow.
Noon to 3 p.m. — Heavy rain, turning into a snowy mix.
Evening to midnight —Heavy and wet snow falling throughout the area
Accumulations — Ready for this? It could be eight inches to a foot of the wintry stuff.
With any luck, the storm will veer off course and we will be left with heavy rains. If that's the case, get back to your planned Halloween activities. Of course, it could revert to rain, which is not necessarily good news in areas still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irene just two months ago.
Oddly, this looming storm coincides with the 20-year anniversary of a nor'easter that hit the east coast on Oct. 30, 1991, dumping heavy snow up and down the east coast. The massive low-pressure system that triggered the mayhem on land created what the NWS dubbed the "perfect storm" at sea. It was blamed for sinking the Andrea Gail, a Massachusetts swordfishing boat. The story of the men on the Andrew Gail was turned into Sebastian Junger's best-selling novel "The Perfect Storm".