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Blanket Of White Covers New Jersey, Makes Driving Conditions Treacherous

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The snow came early and started sticking sooner than many drivers in Bergen County expected.

The Village of Ridgewood was buried under a blanket of white which looked great, unless you were driving on it, CBS 2's Tony Aiello reported.

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Roads in Bergen County were absolutely treacherous on Tuesday evening, where at least three inches had fallen by 9 p.m.

New Jersey Covered By A Blanket Of White

The speed limit on most local roads in northern New Jersey is 25 mph but drivers were keeping speeds closer to 10 or 15 mph.

Sanders were also out applying salt and sand to Bergen County roads ahead of plows which typically come out after three inches have hit the ground.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency due to the snowstorm, allowing the State 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.

"Today's winter storm is expected to produce heavy snow, dangerous conditions and travel hazards throughout the state," said Christie in a statement. "I've authorized state officials to take all necessary action to prepare, and my Administration will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. I encourage all New Jerseyans to stay off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations."

By Tuesday evening, there had been 238 reported accidents and 354 motorists aided in New Jersey State Police patrol areas.

The right and center lanes on the eastbound side of Route 80 were shut down in Roxbury Township where emergency crews were on the scene of an accident involving a charter bus that went down an embankment, state police said.

Three passengers suffered minor injuries.

New Jersey Snow Totals

Manalapan 13 inches

Whitehouse 10.5 inches

Englishtown 10.3 inches

Tenafly 8 inches

Newark 9.8 inches

Union 6.5 inches

Paramus 3.5 inches

A number of northern New Jersey businesses were closed on Tuesday, including the Barnes And Noble at the shops at Riverside in Hackensack.

One man said that he struggled to get to the bookstore and was disappointed to find it closed.

"I saw the sign saying it was closing at 1:00 p.m. It's a letdown I guess. The weather is as bad as they say it is," he said.

He wasn't the only one seeking shelter at a north Jersey mall.

Matthrew Narvaez dodged most of the storm by hunkering down at the Garden State Plaza.

"We actually haven't been out on the roads in a while because we got here hours ago, so now it will be interesting trying to get home," Narvaez told CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco.

Narvaez avoided a messy commute on Route 3, but on Route 17 plow driver John Terry was preparing for a busy night.

Terry had one request for local drivers.

"Stay home, stay off the roads until we're done plowing the roads," he said.

On the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway speed limits were reduced to 35 mph, CBS 2's Aiello reported.

Drivers and residents in Hoboken were reminded not to park on emergency snow routes which are labeled with street signs that read "No Parking When Road Is Snow Covered."

Web Extra: Parking In Hoboken

A snow emergency was also declared by Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and Sherrif Armando Fontoura.

"Our Public Works crews work around the clock to ensure our County roads are passable and safe. Asking residents and motorists to not park their cars on County roads makes it easier for our plows to remove snow from curb to curb and our salt trucks to spread salt to melt ice," DiVincenzo said.

It was a good night to stay home in Freehold as well where road conditions where deteriorating on Tuesday night, and had reduced vehicle traffic to a crawl during rush hour.

Monmouth County Emergency Management deployed more than a hundred plows and reduced the speed limit to 35 mph as blowing snow made driving conditions dangerous.

On Tuesday evening, NJ Transit announced plans to operate an adjusted schedule on Wednesday.

Rail service will run on an enhanced weekend schedule. Buses and light rail will operate on a regular weekday schedule, Access Link Paratransit service will be suspended statewide and will resume on Thursday, as soon as road conditions permit.

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