NEW BRUNSWICK - Thursday's autumn snowstorm hit much harder than weather forecasts predicted, the worst of it when most people would be on the roads for the evening rush hour, said Rutgers University professor and state climatologist David Robinson.
"The weather forecast was incorrect. I'm not a forecaster and I don't like to throw darts, but it was a blown forecast," Robinson said.
New Brunswick got four inches of snow, at least twice the one to two inches originally expected, he said.
Contributing to the problem was the colder than expected air temperatures. Warmer air was expected to change the snow to rain, Robinson said.
Snow came down fast, an inch to two inches an hour at times during the storm, and it occurred "at the absolute worst time," he said.
"Everything had to align just right, and unfortunately it did," Robinson said. Had the storm hit after the evening commute home, plows could have cleared city streets overnight, he said.
The storm had New Brunswick dealing with dozens of reports of motor vehicle accidents and disabled cars. The heavy wet snow followed by strong winds brought down a few power lines on the western end of the city, causing some outages, officials said.
In the 24-hour period from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. today, police responded to 26 accidents, as well as 25 reports of disabled vehicles, police Capt. J.T. Miller said.
This includes reports that came in before the storm started shortly after noon.
High winds that followed the heavy snow brought down lines on the western end of Somerset Street, causing sporadic power outages, city officials said.a
While this was a rare storm, there have been other early season snowfalls, including the 4.8 inches of snow that fell in New Brunswick on Nov. 8, 2012, just days after Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey, Robinson said.