Westfield Prepares for Potentially Historic Winter Storm

The parking lot at Stop & Shop in Westfield was filled Sunday morning while locals stocked up for the blizzard. Credits: Jackie Lieberman

WESTFIELD, NJ — The National Weather Service is predicting  a “potentially historic” winter storm in Westfield starting Monday and lasting into Tuesday. A blizzard watch was already in effect Sunday morning. Snow accumulation is predicted to be one to two feet, with higher amounts possible in some areas.

The service also predicts extremely dangerous travel conditions due to heavy snowfall and strong winds. Whiteout conditions are likely and secondary and tertiary roads may become impassable, it warns. The worst of the storm is expected to hit from Monday night into Tuesday morning.

The town of Westfield is already gearing up.

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“Storm protocol normally starts tracking about 48 hours in advance,” explained Greg O’Neil, director of public works. “Once there is a 50 percent or greater chance that a storm is predicted to hit, the DPW will make certain all vehicles and equipment and fully operational and fueled with plows mounted.”

The town asks that all vehicles and impediments be removed from roadways to facilitate plowing operations.

“Once the storm commences, our salt trucks go and salt all pertinent areas, which forms a separation of the ice layer and the road so as to allow plowing operations to run smoothly and efficiently,” O'Neil said. “Upon conclusion of the storm, we ask all residents to please be aware we will be coming around for final plowing of your road in the next eight to 10 hours. Once the storm is over and you see the plow go down your street, that would be the time to clean the mouth of your driveway and/or sidewalk.”

Westfield Police Chief David Wayman, who is also Westfield’s emergency management coordinator, announced that parking on the following streets, or the identified portions thereof, is prohibited whenever snow has fallen: 

- Central Ave (entire length); 
- Clark St (between W Dudley Ave & Edgewood Ave); 
- E Broad St (between Mountain Ave & N Euclid Ave); 
- Prospect St (between E Broad St & E Dudley Ave); 
- W South Ave (between Westfield Ave & Central Ave); 
- W Broad St (entire length). 

Parking is prohibited on these streets, or the identified portions thereof, until after the snow has stopped falling and the roads have been sufficiently plowed. Westfield police plan to enforce these parking restrictions. Wayman warned that any vehicles parked in violation of the above will be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense pursuant to emergency police order.  

Power Outages Possible

The storm’s strong winds have the potential to bring down power lines and tree limbs. PSE&G announced that it has additional personnel and equipment on hand in anticipation of the storm. The utility is arranging for additional tree crews to assist PSE&G’s own workforce and ensuring that extra supplies, including poles and transformers, are available. 

PSE&G urges caution if you see downed lines. 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, it said.

To report downed wires or power outages, call PSE&G’s customer service line at 1-800-436-PSEG. Customers can also report power outages and view the status of their outage by logging in to My Account on www.pseg.com, PSE&G’s mobile-friendly website.

Last week, the Westfield Board of Health gave recommendations for preparing for the next severe weather emergency.

“Make or restock your disaster supply kit with at least a three-day supply: 1) water, 1 gallon per person per day; 2) nonperishable food; 3) medications; and 4) flashlight and radio, with batteries. Also, please have a plan to aid family members, take care of pets and safely shut off utilities. Finally, if you will use a portable generator, plan to locate it in a well-ventilated space AWAY from your house,” Board President Lawrence D. Budnick wrote in a letter to the editor.  “Please have your heating system checked and have a functioning battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm in your home. Carbon monoxide from a generator or heater can initially cause headache, nausea and dizziness and can be deadly.”

TAP into Westfield will continue to follow this story.

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