Sussex County Begins Recovering From Hurricane Sandy
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 • 12:10am
SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ - The slow recovery process from Hurricane Sandy has begun within the county, and, many residents and authorities are spending time asking questions, most especially, "When?"
Two of the "when's" include schools throughout the county, and county offices, both closed, Wednesday, October 31.
The "when" most asked is for the power situation, as 50,284, or 87 percent of JCP&L customers, and 6,984 members of Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative, in Sussex County are still without power.
"Assessments in New Jersey show damage exceeds Hurricane Irene, and October 2011 Snowstorm," JCP&L posted on its website. "Restoration for JCP&L customers likely to be longer than previous storms. Estimated restoration times for all areas will be provided as soon as they are available."
Statewide, JCP&L indicated more than 930,000 customers are without power, and, they have 12,000 employees, and contractors, working on repairs. The company said it is also conducting damage assessments on foot, and via helicopter.
"We have no information as to when the roads will be clear, or the power back on," Hardyston Township Police Department posted on their Facebook Page. "We are being told it can take 10 days."
The Town of Newton is one town, for example, completely in the dark in its downtown, with residences, and businesses without power. Traveling to Route 206 at several major intersections, and, in the downtown, none of the traffic signals are on. Shop Rite, and Weis had power, but the traffic signal there, which worked earlier Tuesday evening, was flashing later on.
The Newton Quick Chek diagonal from Shop Rite was closed. Venturing towards Hampton Township, some stores were closed, others open. The eateries especially, Subway, Burger King, and The Hampton Diner, had customers lining up at their front doors. Wine Country was also open, and had its share of clients. Fairclough Fuel, one of four gas stations open in the county, had a line streaming in from Halsey Road.
The three other scattered operational gas stations are: Busy Bee on Mill Street in Newton (Super only), Sunoco on Route 23 in Hamburg, Hendersons on Bank Street in Sussex, and all gas stations in Franklin except Hess.
While Newton Quick Chek's entrance was barricaded with cones, many drivers pulled up to the pumps at the Exxon in Augusta, some driving away after realizing they could not fill up there, and, others parking to buy coffee, and other items from the convenience store.
The Chatterbox in Augusta was completely packed, as was Yetter's Diner, where customers, many looking exhausted, waited patiently for available tables to sit for a meal, or their takeout orders.
Some local municipalities provided updates on their Facebook Pages.
Hardyston Township Police Department said on its Facebook Page it will provide information about trick-or-treating when available.
Hamburg Borough Police wrote on its Facebook Page, residents should not drive on closed roads, due to hidden dangers.
The Town of Newton has cancelled its Halloween Parade on October 31, municipal offices are closed, and said JCP&L is restoring power as soon as possible. The Newton Police Department said it will post a decision about trick-or-treating as soon as possible.
Vernon Township Police posted several road closures on its Facebook Page, and that the town will celebrate Halloween on Saturday, November 3.
For residents who need temporary shelter, Hopatcong High School, the Sussex County Technical School in Sparta, and the Montague Municipal Building are open.
Residents should call 5-1-1 for road closures.
Tony Selimo, meteorology professor at Sussex County Community College said about the upcoming few days weather-wise, "It's going to get seasonable, and dry out a little."
Continue to follow The Alternative Press for post-storm coverage, and The Alternative Press of Sussex County’s Facebook Page for news and information.
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