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Westfield Prepares for 8th Snow Storm; School Openings Delayed

Jackie Lieberman

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 • 9:40pm

WESTFIELD, NJ — The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Northeastern New Jersey in effect from midnight tonight until 6 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 5.  Westfield Public Schools have already announced delayed openings for Feb. 5. (For complete information on times, click here.) Westfield’s three allotted snow days have already been used.

Governor Chris Christie has declared another state of emergency.  The town of Westfield is warning that there is the potential for accumulations of snow between 4 and 8 inches with a dangerous coating of up to one-third an inch of ice on top of that snow, which could cause downed power lines.  

At a council conference meeting Tuesday night, town officials discussed what is being done in preparation for Westfield’s eighth snow storm of the season.

Although there is a nation-wide shortage of salt, Westfield has some on hand, according to Town Administrator Jim Gildea. He said the town has had a pending order for more salt for almost two weeks.

“We do have salt. Not as much as we’d like, but we’ll be able to get through this storm,” Gildea said.

Councilman Frank Arena, who experienced a ride-along in a DPW plow during Monday’s snow storm, said the department of public works spends a great deal of time planning for each snow event before the storm even hits. Once it begins to snow, “These guys put in long days and they’re out there until it’s done,” he said.

When plowing begins, he said, the DPW starts with the streets around the schools, then moves on to inclines and primary roads, then downtown, then secondary roads. Last come are the parking lots. Plowing downtown is made difficult when cars are parked along the street, he later told The Alternative Press.

All told, “We have 100 miles of roads,” said Arena. He noted that it is the homeowner, and not the town, that is responsible for clearing sidewalks.

To help the plows do their jobs, Arena said that residents should park their cars in driveways if possible, and not the road, and avoid throwing snow into the street. He also noted that the plows make several passes to clear the roads as well as possible, with the unfortunate side effect that snow is piled at the ends of driveways that have already been cleared.

“That’s the reality,” said Arena. “We are sympathetic to the residents when something like this happens.”

Despite the impending storm, officials said that Ward 3 residents should put their recyclables at the curb no later than 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning and every attempt will be made to pick it up.  If there is an interruption in pick-up service due to deteriorating weather conditions, the recycling contractor will re-schedule additional pick up days which will be posted on the town website, www.westfieldnj.gov.  Questions may be directed to Giordano Companies at 800-216-2250.

For more information from the town of Westfield regarding this storm, click here. To stay up to the minute with the town of Westfield, even during a power outage, the Mayor encourages residents to follow @TownOfWestfield on Twitter.

Westfield endured several water main breaks during Monday’s storm, officials noted, including a break on East Broad Street in front of the Rialto Theater.

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