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New Jersey Residents Worried About Power Outages As Snow Continues To Fall

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — People in New Jersey weren't just concerned about the snow during Wednesday's nor'easter. They were worried about the possible damage to power lines, too.

Electrician Mike Lettera was on the road for work. He says he could barely keep up with the calls this week as customers expected major outages once more.

"Even on the way here trees down, can't get down the road, people without power elsewhere," he said.

Jodi Smilovic's family lost power to their Wyckoff home for two days during the  last storm when trees fell in their yard. Getting Lettera to install a generator hookup at the last minute was a victory in itself.

"I think it definitely put a sense of urgency for people to get their own generators," she said.

Meanwhile, officials continued to urge caution Wednesday night as the storm continued to dump heavy snow on parts of the state.

Residents were urged to stay off the roads if possible as Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency.

"Please do not head out into the snow unless you absolutely have to," Murphy said.

CHECK: Latest Forecast | Radar | School Closures, Delays | Traffic & Transit | Photo Gallery

Authorities have also banned all tractor-trailers, passenger cars pulling trailers, motorcycles and RVs from traveling on I-78, I-80, I-280 and I-287 and there is a 45 mph speed restriction in effect on the New Jersey Turnpike.

State troopers have been out enforcing those laws, pulling truck drivers over on I-78.

New Jersey State Police said they have responded to 169 crashes and helped 244 drivers since midnight.

We have responded to 169 motor vehicle crashes and 244 motorist aids in NJSP patrolled areas since midnight. Motorist...

Posted by New Jersey State Police on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A portion of Church Road in Howell Township had to be closed because of an SUV that crashed into a utility pole.

Church Road is CLOSED between Ford and Kent due to this car/pole crash. The occupants sustained a minor injury. Please...

Posted by Howell Township Police Department on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

NJ TRANSIT also suspended all bus service statewide, including to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

NJ TRANSIT announced they'll operate on a regular weekday schedule for Thursday.

"I've packed a bag, actually going to stay at my mom's house in Queens," Summit resident Rosaria Di Grande said. "I'll probably stay for two days."

On Main Street in Madison, folks were preparing for the day with many heeding the warning to stay home.

"Little quiet. People actually listening to the governor, staying off the roads," Nick Heilmann told CBS2's Meg Baker. "And if it gets as bad as they say it is, it's going to be good idea." 

Karol Valesquez and his dad, Carlos, loaded up their grocery cart with some big plans for the afternoon.

"Cook with my dad," he said.

But plow driver Sal Lovaglio has a message for anyone thinking they should leave the house.

"Stay home today, do nothing," he said. "Something I wish I was doing instead of coming out here."

CBS2's Meg Baker spoke to one person braving the cold to stock up from a local food store. His haul?

"Chips and a Hot Pocket," said Danny, a resident of Madison, N.J. "The necessities? Yes, college student."

CBS2's Dick Brennan reports on road conditions in Bergen County: 

Officials want to avoid what happened during the last storm two weeks ago when highways jammed with traffic for miles as drivers pushed their cars through the icy mess and tractor-trailers became stuck on I-287.

The DOT is planning on bringing in "back-up" in the event someone does get stuck.

Meanwhile, PSE&G says it has mobilized nearly 600 mutual aid and contract employees ahead of the storm. JCP&L representative Ron Morano says wind is once again a major concern.

In preparation for Wednesday, the company was bringing in extra workers from Ohio and setting up two more staging areas in Ocean and Essex County.


Commercial vehicles were banned from major interstates like 287 until midnight. CBS2's Jessica Layton found a jackknifed tractor trailer heading south just as the snow started to stick earlier Wednesday.

Plow drivers like Greg Chernalis were begging people to stay off the roads so he can do his job.

"It's actually very dangerous," Chernalis said. "People go out, no lights on, pull in front of you, no idea how bad it is and they shouldn't be out."

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