March 7, 2018

Town Cleans Up From One Storm As Another Nor’easter Bears Down

By Anne Levin

At press time on Tuesday, this month’s run of nasty storms was predicted to continue with a second nor’easter, and a third round of bad weather predicted for next week. Last Friday’s mix of snow and rain had police, utility, and rescue workers busy dealing with power outages, roads blocked by fallen trees, and downed power lines.

At various points, Friday’s storm left more than 130,000 New Jersey residents without power. As of Tuesday morning, power had been restored to all Mercer County customers who had lost it, according to PSE&G’s communications office. But the utility was gearing up for round two.

There were numerous road closures last Friday as the first storm produced snow and strong winds. Trees toppled over and branches and other debris flew into windshields. Among the blocked roadways was Quaker Road, which was closed due to flooding and debris. Cleveland Lane shut down from Library Place to Elm Road. Traffic lights were out at several intersections, including Princeton Pike and Province Line Road, where a large tree came crashing down around 3 p.m. Great Road was closed from Ridgeview to Cherry Valley Road.

The Princeton Police Department responded to about 40 calls for trees or downed wires, according to Sergeant Fred Williams. “We also had six traffic lights out along with power outages throughout the town,” he said in an email. “Ironically, there were only three motor vehicle accidents, none of which had injuries.”

Princeton’s public schools experienced some delayed bus routes on Friday afternoon, due to fallen trees. Most seriously affected was Johnson Park Elementary, where the power went out shortly before 2 p.m. and didn’t come back on until Sunday morning.

“Buses were able to get there on time except for one, on Friday, and that was a contracted bus,” said Brenda Sewell, coordinator of communications and website management. “We sent a backup bus and were able to go a different route. Some parents, too, had problems getting here. The last students left at 6:50 p.m., but they were well taken care of. Police were on hand to make sure everything was OK.”

Commuters on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line experienced disruptions on Friday, when trains were cancelled between New York and Washington early in the afternoon. Most trains were running again by Saturday morning. NJ Transit travelers also encountered delays on Friday, but most service was restored by Saturday morning.

At Princeton Public Library, “We were happy to host many people who were without power last weekend,” said Communications Director Tim Quinn. “I was here on Saturday and it was definitely busier than usual. Given what a regular weekend day is like here, that’s saying something.”

Quinn said on Tuesday that the library was hoping to have enough staff members able to get to work on Wednesday to safely open.