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Nor'easter Creates Icy Conditions, Causes No Serious Injury or Delays

Matthew Hersh

A classic nor'easter rode up the Atlantic coast to deliver an early reminder that, at best, snow can cause a colossal mess.

The storm, which dumped approximately one foot of snow on Princeton, supplied the area with plenty of hazardous conditions and the hassle of snow shoveling, but caused no serious injury. "We had a lot of cars slide off the road and road conditions were bad with several minor fender-benders, but no serious injuries," reported Lieutenant Robert Buchanan of the Princeton Township Police Department.

The Borough had similar success in controlling the risk of injury throughout the two-day storm. Borough Police Lieutenant Dennis McManimon said no trees had been downed, and reported no "notable accidents."

He said that while side streets might remain tight from built-up snow, parking should not pose a serious problem. "As far as shopping is concerned, there seems to be plenty of parking." Lieutenant Buchanan said roads in the Township are currently "acceptable," but warned drivers to keep eyes open for patchy conditions. He said the lifting of the snow emergency on Sunday afternoon was the final indication that roads were drivable once again. "We were in pretty good shape, so that's why we lifted the ban," he said.

The snow emergency was declared on Friday at 1:30 p.m., Lieutenant Buchanan said, to enable the Department of Public Works to clear the snow on over 100 miles of roadways in the Township. During snow emergencies, residents are not permitted to park on roadways. He added that no travel restrictions were imposed on the Township during the storm.

While the Princeton Regional School District did not institute an early dismissal on Friday afternoon, the storm took its toll on local organizations over the weekend. The Princeton Public Library at the Princeton Shopping Center closed early on both Friday and Saturday, and Princeton University dismissed non-essential staff on Friday. Classes resumed as scheduled. Princeton train commuters met with an out-of-service Dinky on Monday morning. New Jersey Transit pulled a bus from its fleet to shuttle commuters back and forth between the Dinky station and Princeton Junction.

New Jersey Transit spokesperson Janet Hines said the malfunction in equipment was weather-related and had affected Dinky service on Sunday and throughout the day on Monday, including morning and afternoon rush hours.

New Jersey Transit trains including the Dinky are currently back to operating on normal schedules, she said.

Don Hansen, superintendent of the Township Department of Public Works, said employees were plowing throughout the night on both Friday and Saturday.

"Our first concern was [removing snow from] the main roads, then we moved on to the secondary roads," he said in outlining the procedural protocol of a snow emergency.

Mr. Hansen said that cul-de-sacs and dead-end roadways are the last to be plowed because they do not facilitate mobility to the throughways. He said residents in these areas never "like to hear that."

Warmer temperatures and sunny conditions on Monday and Tuesday allowed significant melting to occur, but can create icy conditions, according to Mr. Hansen. "We will address those calls individually as they come in," he said. He added that the department has not received a high number of calls regarding icing on the roads.

Thursday forecasts calling for rain should alleviate the snow buildup, but could cause flooding throughout the Borough and Township. Mr. Hansen said that plowers try to avoid covering drains and basins, but it can be difficult because many roads are still awaiting this month's leaf pickup. "What we are worried about are the leaves around the drains," he said.

"Most of the time [flooding] is caused by leaves on top of basins or inlets," he said He added that Public Works will respond to flooding on a case-by-case basis. "If there's flooding, we'll address it."

Mr. Hansen lauded the cooperative effort between Public Works and the police department in the snow removal process. "The police worked great with us," he said.

"Overall, I think everyone held up really well and we [and the police] have a really good working relationship," he added.

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