Wednesday warmup melts NJ ice, temporarily
TRENTON, N.J. - February 2, 2011 (WPVI) -- Temperatures rose to 40 degrees and higher Wednesday in many areas of New Jersey, melting much of the ice that accumulated overnight as a massive winter storm brought freezing rain to the Garden State.
Most travel and speed restrictions were lifted by noon, but authorities were still urging motorists to use caution because of slush and standing water on the roads.
State police warned that falling temperatures would create icy conditions Wednesday night and on Thursday, when the high was not expected to top 30 degrees in most areas.
Transportation Department spokesman Joe Dee said roughly 400 salt spreaders remained in use Wednesday afternoon. Crews also were clearing snow from stormwater drains in areas where water was ponding on roadways.
NJ Transit trains resumed normal service by the afternoon after a morning of suspensions and delays because of power problems.
The weather played havoc with the morning commute for travelers heading in and out of New York City. One woman could have been watching a horse race as she eyed the flipping numbers on the Newark Penn Station's master schedule board.
"Come on, Trenton train, come on," she murmured, to no avail.
Phil Motard and Dori Holder didn't know each other before Wednesday but got acquainted during a three-hour, stop-and-start trip from Metropark into New York City - normally about a 20-minute ride - that ended prematurely in Newark.
Holder, who works as an administrative assistant at a financial firm, said they sat on the train and watched several Amtrak trains zoom by.
"We pay $284 for a monthly pass - in situations like this, why don't they just let us jump on?" she asked. "It doesn't make any sense to go in now, and so now I'm going to lose a day of work. I don't know why I got out of bed."
Motard, a service manager for an office equipment company, said he considered working from home but wanted to set an example for the 30 people he oversees - many of whom live in New York's outer boroughs and made it in to work.
"It's very simple technology that hasn't changed for 100 years," Motard said, his frustration beginning to show. "You know your power lines are going to freeze in this type of weather. Coal would've gotten us here better today."
Utility officials said about 15,000 customers were without power Wednesday afternoon after the ice storm snapped tree limbs and brought down power lines in central and northern New Jersey.
The state's largest utility, PSE&G, said about 9,000 homes and businesses were without service as of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Woodbridge, Carteret, Bridgewater and Edison were the hardest-hit areas.
Jersey Central Power and Light said about 6,000 customers were without service, mainly in Hunterdon, Morris and Union counties.
Continental Airlines, which had suspended flights out of its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport from Tuesday through noon Wednesday, resumed a limited number of departures and arrivals by that time, according to a spokesman.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, said about 450 flights had been canceled as of late Wednesday morning.
Associated Press writers Samantha Henry and Bruce Shipkowski contributed to this report.
new jersey, snow, severe weather, ice storm, local/state
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