Bitter cold follows light snow across the area

Anthony Johnson reports from Manahawkin.
March 3, 2014 3:16:17 PM PST
While the New York City area dodged the worst of the storm, several inches of snow fell across much of southern New Jersey on Monday.

There will be no dodging the cold blast behind the storm as overnight temperatures will be dipping to 10 degrees with wind chills below zero in most of the state. While most New Jerseyans would agree that's bitterly cold, forecasters say the temperatures this winter are considered super cold only by the standards of recent memory.

State climatologist David Robinson said the 30.7 degree average temperature for December through February was cold enough to make it just the 34th coldest winter in New Jersey since records began in 1894. But it was the coldest since the winter of 2002-2003 as the state has trended toward warmer temperatures throughout the year.

"It's one of the more disruptive winters of the last several decades," Robinson said. "But by no means is it the epic winter in terms of the amount of the snow that has fallen or the magnitude of the cold weather or the overall impact it has had on the state."

The freezing and thawing have left potholes in the state's roads. Winter storms have repeatedly grounded flights; by midday Monday, one-fifth of the day's flights out of Newark were canceled.

And the timing of the storms have meant snow days galore at schools - around a half-dozen in many districts, enough that the makeup days are seriously eating into spring breaks. Gov. Chris Christie said last week that he would not waive the requirement that schools be open 180 days.

Before Monday's storm, the winter's average snowfall at New Jersey observation stations - weighted for geography - was 48.4 inches, good for No. 8 all-time.

Large but not overwhelming storms became a routine. Before Monday, New Jersey had five winter storms that left at least 10 inches of snow somewhere in the state. That's a lot of snowy storms for New Jersey, Robinson said.

Even though the storm brough less snow, driving conditions were poor in many places, and speed restrictions of 45 miles an hour were put in place on the Garden State Parkway.

On the New Jersey Turnpike, the restrictions were 35 miles an hour south of Exit 8, and 45 between Exits 8 and 11.

New Jersey State Police say they responded to 88 crashes Monday morning.

Dozens of schools in New Jersey closed or delayed opening.

A hazardous travel advisory was issued for New York City.

Alternate side of the street parking is suspended in New York City, but the meters remain in effect.

More than 550 flights to and from New York were canceled Monday, even though the city only got a light dusting of snow.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has deployed extra staff to handle the snow at the agencies airports, bridges and tunnels. Travelers were advised to check with their airlines for flight delays or cancellations.