Snow way to get break from the wrath of winter
Yesterday's forecast called for early flurries changing over to rain, but instead Hudson County was sloshed with freezing rain and sleet in the morning, followed by a couple of inches of snow in the afternoon.
The result was a slippery, slushy mess in the afternoon as road crews rushed out with fresh supplies of salt and sand in an attempt to treat roads that hadn't been touched since morning.
Jersey City Incinerator Authority vehicles had to spread a second coat of salt yesterday afternoon after an early morning coat was covered by the unexpected afternoon snow.
"The weather forecasts have sort of been off," said Glenn P. Cunningham, deputy executive director of operations at the incinerator authority. "At this time it was already supposed to turn over to rain." Cunningham is not related to Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham.
Amaury Carrion of Jersey City, waiting for a bus in Journal Square, had squeezed into two jackets in an effort to keep warm.
He summed up the feelings of Hudson County residents already exasperated by the winter weather:
"This weather (stinks)."
One to three inches of snow fell in Hudson County yesterday, with temperatures remaining in the lower 30s, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Silva.
Today temperatures are expected to dip again with lows in the 20s and highs in the 30s in the forecast, he said. Northwest winds blowing 15 to 25 miles per hour will make it feel like it's in the teens, Silva said.
Jim Munley, a Kearny weather buff, said yesterday's rain and snow was the result of two storms. One moving east toward the Great Lakes brought rain earlier in the day, while a second storm moving north along the coast brought colder air and snow.
Another arctic blast was scheduled to move in last night, freezing the slush that accumulated throughout the day.
"All this ice, it's going to be ugly," Munley said.
He advised this morning's commuters to keep a good distance between cars, drive slowly and be courteous to drivers having problems navigating the roads.
Traffic yesterday also was troublesome throughout Hudson County, particularly on the Western Slope of the Jersey City Heights, where there were a number of spin-outs and minor fender benders reported.
Adding to the headache was a manhole cover that was blown out of the street at Tonnelle Avenue and Newark Avenue just before 4 p.m. yesterday, causing traffic to be diverted away from the intersection.
Jersey City Fire Chief Thomas Fitzgerald said the 90-pound manhole cover was probably dislodged by pent-up sewer gasses. He said the cold weather was "definitely a factor."
PSE&G, the state's largest utility, reported no outages or major problems yesterday. By mid-afternoon 600 no-heat calls had been received, less than half of the 1,500 calls received on a typical winter day, spokeswoman Jeanne Pierattelli said.
"We're really not having any problems," she said, adding that extra crews were working to respond to calls.
Inside the transportation center at Journal Square, residents were doing their best to manage.
"I was prepared for the cold," Jersey City resident Flora Amata said while waiting for a bus. "But I didn't hear anything about the snow."
Raymond Bailey was warming up after spending yesterday morning walking from a Union City homeless shelter, where he said he spent Saturday night. He was wearing two coats to keep warm, but only had one glove.
But he said the cold didn't bother him as much as the wet stuff.
"No, I don't want to see no snow, no rain," he said.
By Julia M. Scott Journal staff writer
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