Snow day in New Jersey

Michelle Charlesworth reports from Paterson, New Jersey
January 3, 2014 11:07:08 AM PST
New Jersey had a snow day Friday as schools, government offices and businesses closed for a winter storm that dropped up to 10 inches of snow in some areas and ushered in bitterly cold temperatures rarely seen in the region.

Many employers told workers to stay home as slick roads and blowing snow made for a treacherous morning commute where speeds were slow and some vehicles still spun into ditches or got stuck in snowbanks. One New Jersey Transit bus slid backward down an icy hill in Paterson and crashed into a carpet store. The driver was the only person on the bus and she had minor injuries.

New Jersey Transit had buses and trains running but with delays. Spokesman John Durso said ridership was light through the morning. About 30 percent of the flights out of Newark Liberty Airport were canceled, according to the website FlightAware and there were long delays for many in-bound flights.

Still, some people had to go out.

In mostly quiet downtown Newark, 46-year-old Lamont Whitehead was shoveling snow from a parking lot.

"I live for this," Whitehead said. "I love the snow and I love the cold. Maybe it's because I was a winter baby. I grew up always loving to play in the snow. It's colder than normal today, but this is still fun for me."

Before dawn, David Neff stopped at a Mount Laurel convenience store for a quick break during a longer-than-usual night of delivering newspapers.

"It sucks out here," he said. "They're just starting to plow stuff. We definitely got what they said and maybe a little more."

Forecasters had said much of the state would get 4 to 8 inches.

By Friday afternoon, the state was blanketed with at least that much. The top reported total was 11 inches in Long Branch.

The snow tapered off by midday, leaving the state with bitter cold. Wind chills were around 0 in some places Friday morning and were expected to be even colder by evening with air temperatures under 5 degrees.

By Sunday, forecasters say they expect temperatures to return to normal before plunging again next week.

Mulvihill reported from Trenton.