By Lauren Wanko
“Whoever prayed for snow please stop.” That’s the message posted on a storefront marquee — a message lots of storm-weary residents agree with.
“I just came back from St. Marteen so yes I’ve had enough,” said Bradley Beach resident Stephen Schueler.
Others are a bit more optimistic.
“Yeah I’ll take this over Sandy any day,” Mike Dericks of Bradley Beach said.
The frigid combination of snow and rain led to flooding in areas of Bradley Beach. Public Works crews pushed the slushy mix of snow and rain off the clogged catch basins. Worried residents watched as water filled their condo driveway.
“It was a big concern because it was almost coming underneath into our garages just like Sandy,” said Barbara Hardy.
“We plowed last night and we blocked all the drains up from the snow which is normal. Now with the rain, now we have to open up all the drains that we plugged up from the snow so we’re trying to battle that situation right now,” explained Bradley Beach Public Works Operating Supervisor Richard Bianchi Jr.
By the middle of the day, JCP&L restored about 11,500 customers that experienced power outages, mostly in Monmouth County. The majority of the outages were caused by tree branches falling on wires.
“We prepared in advance and we implemented our storm restoration plan. Essentially what we did was brought all of our personnel in first of the morning this morning in anticipation the storm would hit during business hours today, which it did. We’re still operating on our storm restoration plan, which means that we’ll be holding crews and filling shifts,” said Ron Morano of JCP&L.
This winter All Around Handyman Services is just as busy as the utility crews.
“Like my dad has said for a long time, pennies from heaven — that’s what the snow is,” said All Around Handyman Services Vice President Vincent Hufnagel.
Hufnagel’s snow removal business is 10 times busier than last year.
“Not only has it been the snow removal, but it’s been so cold so we’re out daily doing ice control at our commercial businesses,” Hufnagel said.
This storm hits just before Valentine’s Day, the busiest day of the year for florists.
“Four times in my life it’s happened we’ve had bad weather on Valentine’s Day and you have to do what you have to do because I can’t send trucks out in that,” said Jersey Shore Florist owner Rick Donofrio.
That’s why Jersey Shore Florist posted messages on social media — buy your flowers earlier this year.
“A lot of people did. We probably got 80 deliveries out yesterday that would have been for tomorrow. And then tomorrow we have half the deliveries that would normally would have and I’ve just taken orders for people to come down and pick up,” Donofrio said.
The florist may be up and running today, but most of the stores in the Bridgewater Commons Mall were closed today, as were most of the shopping malls in North Jersey.
Back at the beach, shore residents brace themselves for even more snow tonight.