Governor Chris Christie has declared a State of Emergency because of the impending snowstorm. A major coastal storm will impact the entire state Wednesday night into Friday morning. This storm will bring a variety of severe weather conditions including snow, sleet, rain, strong winds and coastal flooding. As a result, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Monmouth County area which will be in effect from 10:00pm Wednesday evening until 6:00am Friday morning.
Weather forecasters are starting to reach consensus on the eventual track of this coastal storm. However, even the slightest change in direction, speed or intensity can have a huge impact on weather conditions, so the potential still exists for considerable change to the forecast. Based on current forecast, the following weather events are expected in the Monmouth County area:
1. Snow should start between 8:00pm Wednesday evening and 12:00am Thursday morning with it continuing through the morning rush. There could be several inches of snow accumulation during this time period.
2. The Thursday morning rush will be difficult as most likely roads will be snow covered and icy. Also, moderate to heavy snow will greatly reduce visibility. Please use caution if you must travel.
3. Snow should change over to a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain during Thursday morning. Also, there is a possibility of the wintry mix changing to just plain rain during Thursday afternoon, before switching back to sleet and snow Thursday evening.
4. Snow and sleet Thursday evening should end as a period of all snow prior to sunrise Friday morning.
5. Winds will increase Wednesday night and by Thursday morning will be sustained at 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. These strong winds combined with the wintry mix of precipitation will lead to the possibility of power outages especially if there has been significant heavy snow accumulations on power lines by the time the wind increases. As a reminder, report any downed wires and never go near a downed power line. To report a downed wire or outage, residents should call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or www.JCP-L.com.
Again, this is a complicated weather forecast as the exact track and intensity of the storm will determine how much winter weather the Monmouth County region will experience. At this time, snowfall estimates are in the range of 6 to 10 inches.
Howell Township officials will monitor the weather forecast over the next day and provide additional weather statements on this coastal storm. Snow fighting resources are ready to be deployed upon the arrival of winter weather. However, due to the active winter season, there is a statewide shortage of salt to treat roadways. As a result, township crews will work as efficiently and effectively as possible with the limited salt supply. In the event of snow fall, as per Township Ordinance; all vehicles, equipment and personal property must be removed from roadways.
Residents are urged to monitor weather forecast and to take the necessary preparations and precautions required for a significant winter storm.