What to know for Monday’s NJ commute: snow arriving Sunday night
TRENTON — New Jersey's second biggest storm of the winter will have a major impact on the Monday morning commute even though the worst of the snow is expected to be done falling.
Chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow expects rain to arrive at the start of the storm late Sunday afternoon, but change to snow as temperatures drop due to nightfall and a cooling atmosphere causing road conditions to quickly deteriorate this evening.
"If possible, you'll want to be off the road by 6-7pm at the latest," Zarrow said.
Gov.Phil Murphy issued a state of emergency effective at 3 p.m. to allowing resources to be deployed throughout the state during the duration of the storm. The order does does not prohibit travel but Murphy cautioned drivers to be careful and to avoid unnecessary travel on Sunday.
"If you're on the road please take it slow and use common sense and caution," Murphy said, adding that drivers should allow snow equipment plenty of room to do their jobs.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said road crews are more than ready to clear the roads and the DOT is coordinating their efforts with State Police and transportation officials in bordering states.
"They're all ready to go," Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.
A ban on commercial tractor trailers, vehicles towing trailers, motorcycles and RV's went into effect at 3 p.m. on the state's interstates with the exception of the Garden State Parkway, NJ Turnpike and Atlantic City Expressway.
Pennsylvania banned motorcycles, empty trailers, tandem truck trailers, RV's and towed trailers from entering the state as of 3 p.m. Sunday on the entire length of Route 78 and Route 80 between the NJ border and Route 81.
NJ Transit announced on Sunday evening that it will offer full systemwide cross-honoring for the entire service day on Monday, March 4, enabling customers to use their ticket or pass on an alternate travel mode—rail, light rail or bus—including private bus carriers.
NJ Transit will operate on a normal schedule on Monday but urged riders to download their app for the latest information.
PATCO will begin running a snow schedule starting at midnight on Monday. All trains will be local and will operate at reduced speeds adding additional travel time.
State offices including the MVC will be on a two hour delayed opening on Monday.
Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso said the state's electric provider are in "prep mode" and ready to quickly respond to outages. The governor and Fiordaliso said customers who lose power should report their outage.
"Don't assume your neighbors have done so. The more calls your provider gets the better they can focus resources to restore power," Murphy said, urging eople to away from downed wires.
The governor again defended his quick responses to declare a state of emergency and to go on high alert to deal with winter storms.
"We take the decision to call a state of emergency very seriously. We're the densest state in the nation. Moving people and things safely is job number one. We are going to lean towards overpreparedeness. If that means the little boy or little girl gets home safely on a school bus or mom or dad gets to and from work more safely and we got that accomplished by preparing and leaning in towards caution up front we're going to do that up front," Murphy said.
There are still some question marks around the storm, according to Zarrow, said if temperatures end up a degree or two higher the area south of Route 195 may not even see 2 inches of snow.