SOMERVILLE, NJ – Heavy snow that began in Somerset County between 3-4 a.m. Thursday continues to blanket New Jersey, with Winter Storm Niko expected to pile up 8-10 inches of snow before ending sometime Thursday afternoon.
The first major snowfall of the season forced the closure of all three Somerville schools and parochial schools, joining hundreds of private and public schools across the state.
All Somerset County and New Jersey state offices are closed.
Wind gusts up to 40 mph were expected to cause some drifting.
The Somerville Office of Emergency Management issued the following statement:
“When it snows, it's important to plow & salt/sand the streets quickly and completely to make them passable for traffic and easier for police, EMS and the fire department to respond to emergencies. Specific areas that are particularly important are one-way streets, hills, and roads with narrow passage.
“The Borough's Snow Emergency Parking Policy states that it is Illegal for any vehicle to be parked on any Borough road, street or highway when the ground is snow covered. "Snow covered" means any precipitation that accumulates on the streets, roads, or highways, including snow, sleet, hail, ice or freezing rain.
“If any vehicle remains on the street, road or highway in such a circumstance, the Somerville Police may ticket it or have it removed. This policy remains in effect until the roads are sufficiently cleared as determined by the Public Works Manager or his designee.”
The OEM offers the following advice:
How to Avoid Problems When Roads Are Snow Covered:
· Move your car into your driveway so it is not on the road
· If you do not have a driveway, move your car to one of the Borough parking lots. Parking is free of charge during a snow storm in all Borough operated parking lots
· If for any reason you cannot move your vehicle, please contact Somerville Police at 908-725-0331
Be Sure to Clear Your Sidewalks
All property owners (including commercial & professional) are reminded they have 12 daylight hours to clear snow from sidewalks once the precipitation has ended.
Welcome to New Jersey, where it was 64 degrees on Wednesday, just hours before the snow was predicted to begin.
Wasting no time, Raritan Valley Community College issued an announcement late afternoon Wednesday that all classes for Thursday would be canceled.
The following senior centers operated by the Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services will be closed – Hillsborough, Quail Brook, Warrenbrook, Montgomery and the Senior Wellness Centers in Bernards and Bridgewater.
There will be no Meals on Wheels deliveries. Clients are asked to use the non-perishable meals sent out earlier in the season. If clients do not have frozen meals, or if they have lost power, they can use Heater Meals, shelf-stable meals that come in an orange box. Directions for heating are on the box. Heater Meals are NOT intended for use in a microwave oven.
The Office on Aging and Disability Services, located at 27 Warren St. in Somerville, will be closed to walk-ins. Clients and caregivers needing information or assistance may call 908-704-6346 or toll free 1-888-747-1122.
The Office of Veterans Services, also located at 27 Warren St., will be closed to walk-ins as well. For information related to veterans’ services, call Peter Niemiec at 908-704-6357.
Because Wednesday’s temperatures helped to warm sidewalks and road surfaces, the snow is not expected to stick initially; state, county and local road crews are applying salt brine to aid melting.
The heavy wet snow is expected to bring down branches and trees and power lines.
A spokesman for PSE&G said extra crews would be on standby for emergency work throughout its service area.
NJ Transit and Newark Liberty International Airport are experiencing delays.