SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Interim Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary McCartney called off classes in the district for Tuesday in anticipation of a major snowstorm due to strike the region, beginning late tonight.

A powerful Nor’easter is climbing the coast from the Carolinas and is expected to bring somewhere between 12-18 inches of snow from late Monday night into Wednesday morning, officials say.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for most of the state, including Middlesex County.

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Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm on Monday afternoon.

“This severe winter storm is expected to produce tonight through Tuesday afternoon significant snow accumulations, winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour, freezing temperatures, widespread coastal flooding and hazardous whiteout travel conditions,” Gov. Christie said. “During these threatening conditions, I urge all New Jerseyans to remain off the roads so our first responders and public safety officers can safely and efficiently handle emergency situations.”

All state offices are closed for non-essential employees, but essential staff should report to work for their scheduled shifts, according to the state.

Police also put out an alert Monday afternoon warning residents to prepare for the potentially nasty winter blast.

According to the alert, snow will overtake the region around 11 p.m. Monday night and may continue right through Tuesday and into Wednesday with snow falling at a rate of 1.5-3 inches an hour at times.

Residents should prepare to remain indoors and off the roads during the storm and make sure vehicles are parked off the streets so that plows can work to clear the roads, police said.

 “Travel Tuesday will be extremely hazardous,” the Nixle alert said Monday afternoon. “We are advising residents to stay indoors and off the roads tomorrow.”

In addition to the schools, township offices and events scheduled for Tuesday are cancelled, according to the township.

St. Augustine’s and St. Cecilia’s Catholic schools are also closed on Tuesday.

Police say that residents will not only deal with possibly more than a foot of snow, but also blowing and drifting snow as winds whip the white stuff around at 10-25 m.p.h. with gusts up to 40 m.p.h., officials said.

The wind and snow may also bring down trees and power lines causing large power outages.

Public Service Electric & Gas ask residents who experience an outage should call the utility at 1-800-436-PSEG.

“The amount of snow and high winds associated with this storm may bring down trees and power lines," said John Latka, senior vice president of electric and gas operations for PSE&G.  "We take every storm with the potential for outages seriously, and have additional personnel scheduled and on standby, with auxiliary equipment at the ready."

PSE&G urges its customers to be cautious during and after the storm:

Downed wires should always be considered "live."

Do not approach or drive over a downed line and do not touch anything that it might be in contact with.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, do not run any gasoline powered engine, including generators and snow blowers, in a garage or any other enclosed space, the utility said.

Stay with TAPinto.net for information and alerts regarding the storm.

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