New Jersey buried by snow

December 19, 2009 8:41:24 PM PST
Residents were baffled by the amount of snow in Red Bank, New Jersey. "Probably a million feet," Mike McDonald laughed.

It sure felt like it as Red Bank neighbors waddled through streets, especially secondary roads.

In some parts, there's knee deep snow because the plows keep piling it on to make way.

It was hard to walk, hard to talk and hard to see in the white out conditions. The snow was taking no prisoners.

It was an endless battle against Mother Nature. The weapons of choice for many -- a shovel and elbow grease.

"There's not many cars out because I don't think many can make it through it," Kristy Giyllot said

But for those who did try to drive, if they didn't have momentum and patience, they slid and then turned around to look for another way to go.

"It's pretty much a white out. I don't know why my wife let my drive the car tonight," Ray Brown said.

Speed limits were reduced on major highways, but that wasn't enough to keep cars from spinning into ditches.

David Weinstein, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said the auto club was taking about 500 member calls an hour Saturday night but handled as many as 800 calls an hour earlier in the day.

About 60 percent of the calls were for extraction from snow banks and drifts after vehicles skidded, Weinstein said. AAA put chains on the tires of the trucks it owns "to help navigate what are some of the worst conditions we've seen in many years in the Garden State," he said.

As soon as the snow storm began to get serious, the road crews in Paramus mobilized for a long night of work.

"Salt, plow the roads, keep the roads opened up so people can get through," said plow driver Mike Rowling.

It took less than an hour for the snow to accumulate on the surface of Route 17.

Emergency medical crews also hit the roads as the snow became heavier.

"We're here to help people, so like the post office says through rain, sleet, snow, we're there for you," said Susan Lazzaro, an emergency medical technician.

Greyhound bus service was shut down from Washington D.C. and New York. Spokeswoman Maureen Richmond says Greyhound took its buses off the road about 1 p.m. Saturday.

The majority of the scheduled flights at Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday were canceled because of a snow storm that blanketed much of the East Coast. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says some 350 flights were canceled there. The story was much the same at Laguardia and JFK, a ripple effect of cancelations at airports in Philadelphia and Washington.

The good news was that delays were minor for the flights that did take off. They were averaging under 30 minutes.

Some information from Eyewitness News reporter Art McFarland.