New Jersey residents with fresh memories of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation and disruptions woke up last Saturday morning to a blanket of snow from a storm that carried dire predictions but, in comparison, did not appear to be all that bad.
Power failures were scarce in a state where more than 2 million people were left in the dark after Sandy — and several hundred thousand after an October 2011 snowstorm that some were comparing in size and type to last Friday’s.
“We got kind of lucky,” William Strauss said as he shoveled his sidewalk in Jersey City, which got about 5 inches but had been predicted to get much more. “It’s not the storm of the century here. I’ve seen a lot worse here. It’s February, so it’s to be expected.”
Transportation began to return to normal in the morning as NJ Transit restored bus service to its northern routes and train service on its Morris & Essex, Montclair-Boonton and Midtown Direct lines. Those buses and trains had been suspended at 8 p.m. Friday as the storm intensified.
Newark Liberty Airport reopened last Saturday morning after runways were closed overnight for snow removal, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport. Hundreds of flights in and out of Newark were canceled as airlines gave up trying to fly into the New York metro area’s three major airports and other airports in the Northeast.
Officials say just a few thousand customers lost power during the storm, and nearly all had their service restored by early Saturday afternoon.
Atlantic City Electric had reported about 4,900 people without power earlier in the day, but that number had been whittled to just 20 by Saturday afternoon. And the state’s two largest utilities, PSE&G and JCP&L, reported only minor, scattered outages.
Meanwhile, Orange & Rockland Electric reported no outages in areas it serves in northern Jersey.
The highest snowfalls were spread across the northern part of the state while other areas were spared.
River Vale in northern Bergen County got 15 inches, the National Weather Service reported. West Milford, Hillsdale and Scotch Plains all got more than a foot of snow. Cedar Grove residents woke up to about 10 inches of snow Saturday morning.
About 5 inches fell on Jersey City and about 6 inches fell at Newark’s airport. Many southern areas of the state only got a few inches of snow.
With his entire body covered up to protect him from the elements, Eric Milner was busy shoveling sidewalks in downtown Trenton last Saturday.
“It’s not that bad out really, and the extra money I get for doing this will help pay off a couple bills I have,” Milner said. “The snow isn’t that heavy, and we only got about 3 or inches I’d say, so I can clear it pretty quickly. And it’s not really that cold out for February in New Jersey, so all things considered, we were pretty much spared by this storm here.”
The storm’s timing probably helped, too.
“Thank god it’s a weekend and not a weekday,” Christopher Pasinski said as he shoveled out his car in Jersey City. “I think the only reason it’s inconvenient is because you get lazy after not shoveling for two years. It’s not too bad.
“I love the snow,” the 57-year-old said. “Not too much. Just enough not to be angry with.”