Bitter Cold Follows Year’s First Snow

By David Cruz

If you were lucky enough to have the day off — from school or from work — today was pretty, well, awesome. But, a season’s first storm is not all snowboards and sleds, especially when clearing sidewalks and streets is your job. Around North Jersey there was a lot of work to be done, clearing roads for those who did have to get around today. At the emergency command center, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop was assessing the job after riding along with salt spreading crews all night.

“Just talking to the guys about how they do it. It’s not easy work, where you think you just drop the plow and go. That’s not how it goes, especially when you’re dealing with very steep roads,” said the mayor. “It’s pretty challenging.”

Around the city, streets were mostly cleared, with blacktop visible for long stretches, but some streets, especially secondary roads, looked like they hadn’t seen a plow for hours. Officials say they will be working throughout the day to clear those roads.

“There’s always room for improvement,” he added, “but the guys worked really hard. I was out there, so I have a new appreciation for what they do.”

The overnight snow was just phase one of this weather pattern. Now comes the bone-chilling cold, with wind chills below zero expected tonight. That means heat complaints from tenants. In Newark, city officials say they had a number of calls overnight. We were there as code enforcement officials investigated a complaint on Irvine Turner Boulevard.

A woman said the heat in her apartment was inadequate. It turned out the heat was set — albeit to the bare minimum — by the landlord.

“The inspectors were here two times this week,” said Mayor Luis Quintana. “Some of it appears to be drafts coming through the window.

Down the hall, we came upon a window in the common area. “Look at this,” said Quintana, holding his hand near the window, through which the wind could be heard whistling. “This is really cold. You’re getting all the wind through there.”

Code Enforcement Officer Tom McDonald said inspectors had been to this building three times this season. He said they were in compliance, “barely.”

Officials say they hope that moderate temperatures on Sunday will help get rid of some of the ice, but forecasters say more snow could be headed our way on Monday.