UPDATE: Snowstorm's Aftermath Leaves Lots of Question Marks
One question: Will there be school on Monday?
Following a freak, giant snowstorm on Saturday, Montclair residents were asking a lot of questions on Sunday.
For example, how will they get to work on Monday?
NJ Transit has announced a suspension of some services for Oct. 31 due to downed trees and overhead wires.
DeCamp buses—which are cross-honoring NJ Transit tickets—are running according to their normal schedule although weather-related delays can be expected.
Will there be garbage collection on Monday?
The Department of Community Services announced late Sunday that garbage collection would go ahead as scheduled on Monday.
But perhaps the biggest question of all? Will there be school on Monday?
Seton Hall Prep in West Orange and many surrounding school districts announced they will be closed on Monday. And, late Sunday, Montclair announced that schools here will be closed on Monday as well.
Montclair State University, however, remains open for regular business activities. Currently, all buildings on the main campus have electrical power and heat. All classes and all business operations, except for the Children's Center which will be closed, will run on a normal schedule on Monday.
Another question is: What should people do when a giant branch falls in their yard. The answer?
"If the giant branch is from a township or county tree, folks should call the township/county," said Katya Wowk, Montclair's communications director. "If they are private property trees, they will need to take care of removal themselves."
In addition, many Montclair residents were wondering when their power might be restored.
One resident, Amelie Tseng, lost power on Saturday, then got it back on Sunday morning, only to lose it again Sunday afternoon.
Other residents said they were told by PSE&G officials that they would not get power back until Tuesday or Wednesday.
But, according to Wowk, crews have been out en masse on Sunday in areas with downed trees and wires while PSE&G has been handling downed power lines as fast as it can.
As soon as roads have been cleared and made safe for snow removal, crews will begin clearing snow, she said.
Also troubling for some residents is that area grocery stores such as A&P on Valley Road were closed on Sunday due to power outages.
Even so, bright sunshine on Sunday morning indicated that an end was in sight to a horrific stretch of treacherous winter weather.
Some parts of Essex County received a foot of snow with Montclair getting at least six inches or more. Newark reported five inches of snow and Central Park got three inches, according to the National Weather Service.
Officials estimated that more than half the residents of Montclair were without power on Sunday and many other residents reported that—horror of horrors—they were without both phone and Internet services.
The fire department reported several fires in Montclair, including a two-alarm house fire at 408 Upper Mountain Avenue on Saturday afternoon, but no injuries.
On Sunday, Valley Road near Montclair State University was closed due to all the downed power lines and branches.
Jersey Central Power & Light officials told Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff and other municipal representatives that because of the snowstorm more than 160,000 people are without power in Essex, Morris and Sussex counties and that number is going to go up before it goes down.
Trees have fallen on electrical wires and there have been fires, she said they told her, but because it's going to keep snowing until midnight, crews will have difficulty getting in and fixing it.
"It's like Irene all over again," she said. "The people who are most anxious about this because it's getting dark, have no power won't be able to get any information."
Indeed, the treacherous early season snowstorm prompted Mayor Jerry Fried and other officials to warn residents to stay inside their homes on Saturday.
"Branches are falling down everywhere," Fried said.
The most snow on record reported in the New York metropolitan area was .8 inches in October 1925, according to Walker. He said Newark, New Jersey's largest city, had .3 inches that same month in 1952.
The good news is that Halloween will be cold but clear. Monday's forecast calls for a partly sunny day with a high of 50 and a low of 42.
On Saturday, though, traveling was indeed extremely hazardous due to snow-covered roads and reduced visibilities.
"Tree branches are falling right and left," said Montclair resident Tom Follier. "I can hear them coming down all over."
Recreational soccer games were canceled in Montclair on Saturday, as were other events such as Strut Your Mutt (rescheduled for Nov. 5) and Girls on the Run. The sports dome over at the Walnut Street Train Station lost power Saturday afternoon and events there were canceled as well. Many church services were canceled on Sunday morning.
For the latest information on the storm, visit the National Weather Service website.