By KAYLA J. MARSH, MICHAEL NUNES and KENNY WALTERS
County and municipal crews continued to work to clear roadways following the snowstorm that blanketed Monmouth County with totals exceeding more than 20 inches in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.
Following Winter Storm Jonas, which hit last weekend, snowfall measured by trained observers and on social media indicated the following totals: Middletown, 19 inches; Little Silver, 24 inches; Red Bank, between 20 and 22 inches; Long Branch and West Long Branch, 13 inches.
“We were very fortunate,” Little Silver Mayor Robert C. Neff Jr. said. “Our volunteer EMS and fire department were ready to go and spent Friday and Saturday night at the firehouse, but we had no serious emergency calls.”
Neff said flooding occurred on some borough roads including Prospect, Seven Bridges, and Little Silver Point Roads, but homes and property remained undamaged.
“Our DPW and the county public works department worked through the night to keep roads clear, and JCP&L responded quickly to repair two downed wires, so power outages were minimal,” he said. “All in all, a nice effort by all.”
Municipal workers spent the days before the storm organizing and preparing, pretreating roads with brine, salt and sand as forecasters predicted the storm could bring two feet or more of snow to the region.
The prediction proved correct as snow totals were measured in feet, not inches.
“Fair Haven made it through the storm without incident, with the exception of about 40 homes losing power for a few hours,” Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli said. “Our police department and volunteer fire company kept us safe, and our DPW kept the roads clear.”
While residents spent Sunday digging out their vehicles, municipal plows and private plows were out and about for most of the weekend, trying to keep the roads as clear and passable as possible.
According to Red Bank Chief of Police Darren McConnell, the borough received an estimated 20 to 22 inches of snow over the weekend. The borough was still working digging out the town on Monday.
“They’re still working on a good number of streets and widening some already plowed,” he said.
McConnell said that over the weekend there were two small accidents, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, which, he said, is less than a normal weekend.
Currently the borough is asking residents to not park their cars on the street, so plows can get as close to the curb as possible.
The snow removal started with the downtown area with plows then moving toward residential and narrow side streets, McConnell went on.
According to Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, the township has about 153 pieces of equipment at its disposal to clear snow from more than 650 lane miles of road.
The township’s fleet includes 83 plows, brining machines, sanders and other heavy equipment, with the other 70 plows being provided by local contractors who augment township snow removal efforts as needed.
“Middletown came through the storm very well,” Scharfenberger said. “We had a command center set up at town hall … it could have been a lot worse.”
According to Scharfenberger, a particular concern was the high wind and heavy precipitation the storm brought with it. High tides of particular concern included those at 7 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23, as well as a full moon tide.
“Luckily the flooding was not serious,” Scharfenberger said. “I think everyone did a tremendous job, we had very few complaints … and residents couldn’t believe how up-to-date we were keeping them and I think that is the key in a situation such as this, keeping everyone in the know about what is going on, what we are doing, what they can be doing to assist in our efforts.”
He said one heartwarming story to come out of the storm was that of a pregnant woman who went into labor Saturday afternoon.
“She didn’t have anyone to watch her kids at the moment, so one of our officers went to pick up her mother from her home, drove her to her daughter’s house so that she could be rushed to the hospital,” he said.
Oceanport Business Administrator John O. Bennett III said there were only minor traffic accidents reported and no major flooding reported during the storm.
“We had inconvenient flooding but fortunately no damage flooding,” Bennett said. “The road crews worked all weekend, the firemen were in, the first aid was in and everybody pulled together.
“It was a great team effort for everybody involved.”
Many schools in the region were closed Jan. 25.