Officials, Residents Get Ready for Snow, Bitter Cold

By David Cruz

There has been ample advance notice of today’s storm so salt spreaders were getting ready for deployment around heavily traveled North Jersey roads this morning. In Verona, trucks were lining up for what they expect will be a long night.

“I got plow trucks ready to go because, according to the forecast, six to nine inches of snow, so we’re gonna definitely be plowing. I’m gonna have 130 plows, 36 salters. My guys will be going around the clock and we’ll go curb to curb, open it up and make the roads safe,” said Essex County Director of Roads and Bridges Sal Macaluso.

Luckily the bulk of the snow will come overnight when roads are less traveled, so the trucks will have an easier time clearing the roads.

“Tomorrow will be a little different with the colder temperatures. We’ll be treating the salt with liquid calcium because below 20 degrees, the salt alone doesn’t work, so we have liquid calcium on hand and once the plowing’s done, we’ll be salting right behind it,” Macaluso explained.

At Penn Station in Newark, it was twice as busy as a normal Thursday. NJ Transit officials say that’s a good sign.

“We assume that people have been heeding the advice they’ve been hearing for the last day or so to leave early to get wherever they have to go before the storm hits and try to get yourself safe and stay inside,” said NJ Transit Senior Public Information Officer William Smith.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled but, as of late this afternoon, NJ Transit said its buses and trains were all on or close to schedule. They’re cross-honoring tickets and passes and keeping stations open as impromptu warming stations throughout the weekend.

“We have a large army of workers mobilized to make sure that our trains and buses are in tip top shape, and also to make sure that our stations are clear, so we’ll be out there salting platform, salting bus areas and just making sure it’s a safe ride for our passengers,” Smith said.

“We drove so far and we wanted to see Times Square because it was our first time to visit and we weren’t expecting this and it kind of messed up our plans. We’re probably gonna go for a little bit and later on come back because we have little kids,” said Newark resident Miluska Jimenez.

“You know, it’s New Jersey. If you live here, you live here for a reason. I live here because I love the cold weather. The colder, the better. I think that the cold keeps you younger and keeps you alive,” said Harrison resident Helen Castiglione.

“If we can’t find a shelter, we’ll be stuck outside, unless they let us stay here, or on the train. We’ll ride the train all night and go to sleep,” said Carol Dixon, who is homeless.

The snow is one thing. The freezing temperatures that will accompany, and then follow it, is a whole other event with another set of considerations.