Governor Christie Declares State of Emergency as Snow Storm Begins

Governor Chris Christie returnedfrom New Hampshire Friday evening and declared a state of emergency as the New Jersey braced for a massive storm that will likely bring blizzard conditions and more than a foot of snow to much of the state.

A State of Emergency authorizes the New Jersey Director of Emergency Management to activate and coordinate the preparation, response and recovery efforts for the storm with all county and municipal emergency operations and governmental agencies.

Commuters are asked to use extreme caution while traveling across the state.

NJ Transit will stop service at 2 a.m. Saturday and rail service will be remain shut down until officials can ensure that the tracks are safe.

“This weekend’s storm is expected to produce heavy snow and a variety of dangerous travel conditions throughout the state,” Christie said at a press conference just after 8:30 p.m. “I’ve authorized state officials to continue all necessary actions, and we will monitor conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. I encourage all New Jerseyans to drive carefully and remain off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations.”

New Jersey is expected to experience a severe winter storm with heavy snow, mixed precipitation, 25-45 mile-per-hour winds with gusts up to 60 miles per hour, and freezing temperatures throughout the state. A potential mixture of hazardous travel conditions, fallen trees and power outages, and coastal, stream, and river flooding are anticipated.

Christie said road crews and other state workers were already working to ensure that the state’s roads were safe, and clear of as much snow and ice as possible.

“This is our 17th snow emergency. We’ve done this before,” he said.

The first flakes arrived in the Princeton area around 6 p.m. In South Jersey, some evacuations, both voluntary and involuntary, of low-lying areas at the Jersey Shore were underway. The Princeton area could see 18 to 24 inches of snow over the next 36 hours.