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New Jersey State Police Respond To Nearly 200 Crashes During Snowstorm

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The fast-moving winter storm caused major problems on highways Thursday.

The storm hit the northern part of the state first before pushing south. Accumulations range from 10 inches in Vernon, 61/2 inches in Basking Ridge and 2 inches in Freehold Township.

South Jersey was spared the heaviest snow.

New Jersey State Police said troopers responded to 198 crashes and 226 calls to assist motorists beginning at midnight. Speed has been reduced to 35 mph along the entire length of the New Jersey Turnpike.

In Mahwah, the slippery roads triggered a pileup of semi-trailer trucks. Police said a big rig jackknifed on Interstate 287, and several other trucks lost control trying to swerve around it.

Northbound lanes were shut down for several hours. Only minor injuries were reported.

In Secaucus, a snowplow burst into flames while clearing roads.

Secaucus Police Capt. Dennis Miller tells the driver noticed fire coming from the city plow's engine around 8:45 a.m. Thursday. He says it quickly spread and flames shot several feet above the truck's roof.

The fire department responded and quickly doused the blaze.

The state Transportation Department said it had more than 2,300 plows and salt spreaders on the highways. But it's tough for them to gain ground as the heavy, wet snow fell.

"Our roads are salted, all our commuter areas have been salted to and cleaned," Ridgewood Public Works Superintendent Dan Kiely told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock. "We have the equipment to keep it under control."

STORM WATCH: Forecast & Alerts | Radar | School Closings | Travel Guide | Roads | Video

But he said, if you can, "stay home, stay off the roads."

A caravan of snow plows were out early Thursday morning on Ridgewood Avenue in Morristown, CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported.

The snow was no big deal for Earl, he's a plow operator -- when he hears that there's a storm on the way he gets his stuff ready.

"That's work for me. I love it. That's all I see, I gotta get out there, it's money," he told WCBS 880's Kelly Waldron.

In Ringwood, police said on Twitter that Skyline Drive was closed due to weather conditions.

The state authorized the closing of state offices Thursday for all non-essential employees due to the storm. Essential employees should report to work on their regular schedule.

Several schools canceled classes for the day.

Air travelers have been told to check with their airlines for delays. As of just after 10 p.m., delays averaging 4 hours and 10 minutes persisted at Newark Liberty International Airport.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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