January 17, 2024

Wet and Cold Weather Expected to Continue During Coming Week

By Anne Levin

Last week, it was torrential rain. This week, it has been snow, sleet, and ice.

Princeton police, rescue, and emergency crews have been on alert for weather-related problems in recent days. With some more precipitation and frigid temperatures forecast for the rest of this week, they are advising residents and motorists to use common sense on roadways and sidewalks.

“For us, the biggest thing is if the roads are snow-covered or icy, stay home unless you absolutely have to go out,” said Captain Christopher Tash of the Princeton Police Department on Tuesday. “The roads have been okay today, but there is ice out there and it can get worse on the roads and sidewalks.”

Sidewalks that have not been shoveled can be a major problem. “If they are icy or snow-covered, please shovel them,” Tash said. “We always get complaints about that.”

The rain that pelted down the night of Wednesday, January 10 temporarily knocked out power for some homes and businesses, and contributed to localized flooding. The following day, the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS) had to rescue a motorist who was stranded on Quaker Road between Mercer and Quakerbridge roads.

“I would stress that people need to obey roads being blocked off and not go around, or move, barricades,” said Mayor Mark Freda, who is the president of PFARS. “They not only endanger their lives, but the lives of the first responders that have to come help them.”

“Too many of our rescue calls are for people driving around barricades,” added PFARS Chief Matthew Stiff. “The few minutes for a detour are better than risking your life driving through flood waters.”

Several creeks, streams, and rivers flooded last Thursday after the rain let up. “We’ve had a number of rain events over the last few weeks, which has raised the level of some waterways and saturated the ground,” said Michael Yeh, Princeton’s director of emergency services. “Compounded with higher winds than usual, that caused problems.”

The fact that it has hardly snowed at all in the past few years is also significant. “I think people forget what it’s like,” said Yeh. “And then we have a lot of newer

drivers who have not driven yet in the snow. So we want to remind people to drive cautiously.”

Yeh recommends consulting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s website (community.fema.gov) for advice on preparing for and handling winter weather.  SE&G also has a tab on their website (nj.pseg.com) to report any outages and report when power is returning.

“Just please don’t call police to ask when power is coming back on,” he said. “They don’t have that information. And don’t forget to shovel sidewalks!”