Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
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Vol. LXV, No. 44
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors



Advertise in Town Topics

Iris Interiors


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Weather Forecast


Heavy Unseasonable Snowfall Downed Trees, Caused Temporary Power Losses in Many Areas

Anne Levin

Compared to other parts of New Jersey, Princeton got off relatively easy in Saturday’s snowstorm. But the unseasonable precipitation did leave its mark on roads, homes, and businesses across the area, making it seem more like mid-winter than the days leading up to Halloween.

An estimated four inches of snow fell on Princeton Saturday. Because the snow was heavy and wet and fell on trees that still had many leaves on their branches, there were numerous reports of downed trees, tree limbs, and power lines. More than 2,000 homes in Princeton lost power, but most had their power restored by Sunday night.

Slick roads made driving hazardous. Princeton Township police responded to 35 calls for traffic-related issues during the 48 hours between 6 a.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Monday, ranging from disabled vehicles to motor vehicle accidents with injuries. “We knew the storm was coming but nobody had any idea it was going to be as severe as it was,” said Sergeant Michael Cifelli, who is with the department’s Community Services Bureau. “To have leaves still on the trees, with all that snow on them, led to the problems.”

In all, the police received 261 calls related to the storm. More than 100 were reports of trees and wires down throughout the Township. The storm caused extensive damage on Route 206 between Cherry Hill and Herrontown roads, forcing the road to be closed from Saturday afternoon until late Sunday night while PSE&G worked to remove downed wires and restore power.

“Anytime 206 closes, we have to try and detour things onto side streets, and when a storm happens, it can be a mess on the north end of both Mt. Lucas and Cherry Hill roads when they get slicked over,” said Mr. Cifelli. “Trying to keep traffic moving was one of our biggest challenges. The other was to keep up on downed trees and wires. Every call requires a police response. Every alarm that went off, we had to respond to. When the power goes out, the alarms go off. And when it comes back on, the alarms go off.”

At McCaffrey’s Market in Princeton Shopping Center, the power went out on Saturday afternoon. Familiar with the drill from the effects of Hurricane Irene just two months ago, the staff began working to save whatever perishables they could. The store closed at 6 p.m. Saturday and reopened Monday at 3 p.m. Manager Steve Carney said he expects the frozen food section to be completely restocked by Friday.

“We lost in excess of $50,000, but we’re still totaling up,” manager Steve Carney said Tuesday morning. “The good news is that we had just been through this eight weeks ago, so we were much more prepared. Hopefully, before the next storm happens, the generator we ordered quite some time ago will be installed. It could have been worse. Fortunately in any of these things, we haven’t lost any lives.”

Princeton Day School and Stuart Country Day School were closed on Monday due to power issues. At Princeton University, the Tigers football team played Cornell on a field covered with two inches of snow at kickoff time.

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