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New Jersey Digging Out, Cleaning Up After Powerful Winter Storm

MANASQUAN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New Jersey is digging out and cleaning up after a massive blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow on parts of the state and caused flooding along the Jersey shore.

Travel remained hazardous in parts of New Jersey, but Gov. Chris Christie said crews worked through the night and most roads were passable by Sunday morning.

Most major highways were cleared early in the day, including the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. But reduced speed limits were in place on most of those roadways, and drivers were being urged to use extra caution.

PHOTOS: Flooding, Snow In New Jersey | Tri-State Digging Out | Share Photos, Videos | CHECK: Travel Guide | Airports | Schools

Slick and icy conditions existed on many local roadways, especially side streets, as road crews continued their efforts to remove snow and ice. Residents were still being urged Sunday to avoid travel if possible.

"If you go out on the roads, please respect the speed limits -- very important because there's still going to be places where the roads are slick," Christie during a morning news conference in Pluckemin. "Please be careful, take your time while you drive around today."

A travel ban on the Port Authority's Hudson River bridges and tunnels, which went into effect Saturday afternoon, was lifted at 7 a.m. Sunday.

In Newark, where there was a record snowfall of 27.5 inches, Mayor Ras Baraka extended a travel ban there Sunday morning until further notice.

"Although we cautioned residents beginning on Friday about venturing out into the hazardous conditions caused by the snowstorm, many disregarded these appeals yesterday and brought their cars out onto the street and got stuck in the snow," Baraka said in a statement. "This has impeded fire, police and other emergency vehicles and hampered snow plow operations as a result. We are asking all Newarkers to refrain from going out so that we can continue the task of clearing streets and moving our emergency vehicles."

The mayor said any private vehicles found blocking streets will be towed and ticketed, if necessary.

NJ TRANSIT resumed its light rail service late Sunday morning. Officials also said most bus and train routes resumed normal schedules on Sunday afternoon, though they warned of likely delays and detours.

NJ TRANSIT announced late Sunday that it would resume regular weekday rail service Monday morning – with the exception of the Gladstone Branch along the Morris and Essex lines. Substitute bus service will be in place between Gladstone and Summit, and private carrier bus service will cross-honor NJ TRANSIT passes along the branch.

In the midday hours Sunday, there was a lot of grumbling in the NJ TRANSIT waiting area at Penn Station, 1010 WINS' Samantha Liebman reported.

"This one's canceled, canceled, canceled, canceled," one man said. "It looks they're starting to run around 2 or 3."

People were waiting anxiously when the status of the first on-time train disappeared from the board.

"They just opened up the gates so that we could get into the transit terminal at 1 o'clock when NJ TRANSIT said they were going to be open at 12," one commuter said. "So far, everything's been canceled up until now which is 2:14, and we're looking for another one to be canceled as we speak."

The 2:16 p.m. train to Trenton was not canceled, but it was late. Many complained that officials should have been more specific regarding service.

Regular weekday service was expected to be in place on NJ TRANSIT for the Monday morning commute. But riders were urged to allow extra travel time in case weather-related issues caused delays.

Officials warned transit riders to be careful, noting potentially slippery conditions at many bus stops and train stations.

The agency said systemwide cross honoring on rails, bus, light rail and private buses remains in effect for the rest of the day Sunday.

Digging Out

Residents across the state were out with shovels and snowblowers Sunday morning.

As CBS2's Brian Conybeare reported, there was so much snow on the ground in Edgewater, they had to load it onto trucks and haul it away.

While you could see blacktop on busy River Road, the right lane is more like half a lane in some spots because of all the snow.

Snowblowers are working overtime all over Bergen County. Harry Farrow has been working around the clock in Teaneck since the blizzard ended.

"(Conybeare: You're actually sweating out here?) Yes, actually sweating, yup," said Farrow. "(Conybeare: How many jobs have you done today? So far today, we've done 15 and we've got about another 10 or 11 to go."

Farrow said he's ready to work all through the night, adding he expects to make about $3,000 from this storm.

Alvin Reinstein of Teaneck decided to pay $100 to have his snow cleared.

"I thought I would get a heart attack if I shoveled all this snow myself," he said.

He was not alone in thinking he might need help.

"The snow thrower cleared it very nicely, but it's along the street there where they plow, that's tough," Charles Brown of Paramus told 1010 WINS' Samantha Liebman. "I might have to call my kids in to give me a little help."

Some parents, like David, were asking where are his kids when he needs them?

"You have all these kids. Where are all my kids now?" he said. "They should be out here shoveling, but that's what happens when they get older."

Christie warned residents to be careful while digging out.

"Be careful shoveling your snow, it's really heavy, wet snow," he said. "We've had no deaths so far in this state with the storm. I would hate to see that happen today, so lets everybody please be careful."

And the snow wasn't just a problem on the ground. A giant snow drift fell from the roof of the Hoboken library Sunday.

It had been hanging dangerously from the rim of the three-story building, so firefighters had to take it down. As one poster commented online, the owner of the car below may not be too happy.

Coastal Flooding Concerns

The National Weather Service said moderate coastal flooding was expected Sunday morning before water levels decrease later in the day.

"We really had just some moderate flooding in the very deepest part of our state in the south, in Cape May and Atlantic counties," Christie told CBS2. "In discussions with the mayors down there, they told us this was a typical nor'easter from the perspective of flooding. We only had to shelter about 113 people statewide."

In Bellmar, Mayor Matt Doherty said high tide was the biggest concern.

"Both our dunes up on the beach front and the water in Shark River, we were able to keep both of them under control," he told WCBS 880's Kelly Waldron.

Manasquan had some significant flooding, but Mayor Edward Donovan said it was manageable.

"A lot of our residents did what we asked them to do, they got out of there," he said. "I think there was very little damage."

There was some flooding on streets in Manasquan Sunday morning, CBS2's Meg Baker reported. Officials also tweeted out pictures of flooded streets and asked residents to stay clear until the water recedes.

Saturday night, emergency officials tweeted out a picture showing streets flooded with ocean water and icy chunks of snow.

Nearly 20K Without Power

Utility companies in New Jersey reported that nearly 12,000 customers were without electricity midday afternoon Sunday. But power was restored to most customers by Sunday evening, and officials said all service should be restored by late Sunday night.

As of 9:30 p.m., about 1,500 Atlantic City Electric customers were still without power.

Jersey Central Power & Light said roughly 535 customers were without power, with outages concentrated along the coast.

For the latest outage numbers, click here.

School Closings

At least two cities in New Jersey have announced school closings for Monday.

Jersey City public schools will be closed Monday, per the Board of Education, Mayor Steven Fulop said on Twitter.

Some parents were less than thrilled. Kamilla Puskas will have plenty of time to do puzzles with her two daughters, but like many parents, she may have to skip work.

"They have to take days off from their vacation days, and lose vacation days or sick days that they could've used elsewhere," she said.

Hoboken schools will also be closed as the "district responds to staffing, commuting, & parking challenges from storm & City responds to snow removal," it said on Twitter.

For all school closings and delays around the Tri-State area, click here.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 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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