February 3, 2021

Snow Blankets Princeton, But Totals Less Than a Foot

By Anne Levin

For most of New Jersey, Winter Storm Orlena was a serious snow event that dumped over 30 inches in parts of Morris and Sussex counties, and more than two feet in some northern areas. “This was a big one,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a press conference on Tuesday, as the storm began to move out of the state. “We have had quite a 36-hour period with this storm. A state of emergency remains in effect, and unless you need to stay on the roads, please stay in.”

But locally, the situation was less severe. By Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service was reporting 8.3 inches for Princeton, and 11 inches for “North Princeton.” According to Lieutenant Chris Tash of the Princeton Police Department, one motor vehicle crash was investigated, and 10 disabled vehicles required assistance. There were no reports of trees or wires down.

Trash pickup scheduled for Monday is now to take place between Wednesday and Saturday. Residents are asked to be patient. Recycling was changed from Monday to Saturday.

Closed Monday and Tuesday, Princeton University’s campus was scheduled to reopen for nonessential personnel at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Limited Tiger Transit service was to begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Dining halls were open, and dining tents were to reopen for lunch service on Wednesday. Library facilities were to open Wednesday morning. Princeton Public Library remains closed until further notice due to a staff member’s diagnosis of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday afternoon, New Jersey Transit suspended most central New Jersey services until further notice, with Northeast Corridor service operating on a severe weather schedule. The River Line was on a Sunday schedule as of Tuesday afternoon.

Driving was especially hazardous on Monday evening as snow mixed with sleet and caused icy conditions. The sleet changed back to snow overnight, but road conditions continued to be dangerous and travel was strongly discouraged. At the press conference, Acting State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan called Orlena “a monumental storm by all accounts,” comparing it to a winter storm that shut down most of the state in 1996
and rating it as ‘in the top five.”

Area snowfall totals included 10.3 inches in Hamilton Township, 10.1 inches in East Windsor, 10 inches in Ewing, and 8.8 inches in Hopewell, according to the National Weather Service.