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Weather Forecast has Schools, Utilities Scrambling

Winter storm threatens area with snow and possible blizzard conditions.

As a storm continues to build off the coast, the National Weather Service has updated the Winter Storm Warning issued for this area for Friday and Saturday.

But as conditions develop, the forecast ranges from blizzard warnings from 6 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Saturday... in Union County, but so far, not for Somerset County.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Weather Service is calling for possible accumulation of 6 to 10 inches of snow, with the heaviest snow occurring between about 3 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday.

The shifting forecast is keeping local officials guessing on how to proceed.

"As was done prior to Hurricane Sandy, the district is preparing for the impending snowstorm, which according to the latest reports, should enter our area sometime tomorrow afternoon, and thus we encourage our parents to begin preparing now for the following school closure scenarios that may need to be exercised: School closing, early dismissal, and/or cancellation of all child care programs," the Green Brook School District posted on its site. "In the meantime, the district has cancelled all after-school activities scheduled for tomorrow afternoon and evening, including outside patron activities. In addition, all activities scheduled for Saturday have been cancelled."

The district recommends parents have plans to deal with any potential closures, as well as plans for dealing with any possible travel problems caused by snowfall. 

"We will do everything we can to give parents as much advance notice as possible about any school schedule changes using our website, automated calling system, and district e-mail system," the announcement said.

Residents should check the district's Facebook page and Twitter feeds.

Schools aren't the only ones worried about the storm: both PSE&G and JCP&L issued special statements regarding preparations for the storm.

"A large-scale winter nor’easter storm is gathering strength on the East Coast—and JCP&L is already responding to the challenge by mobilizing additional FirstEnergy utility crews and internal resources to help with the restoration process should outages occur," the company said in a statement. 

“Based on current forecasts, we have activated our storm preparation and restoration process and are proactively staging additional out-of-state FirstEnergy crews in New Jersey to get them in position ahead of the snow to minimize the impact the severe weather could have on our customers,” said Don Lynch, president, JCP&L. “In addition to the JCP&L personnel that are on alert, the linemen, vehicles and supplies provided by other FirstEnergy utilities will help speed the restoration process if the wet snow and winds damage our equipment and cause service interruptions.” 

Meanwhile, PSE&G has also been mobilizing its resources in the event of power outages caused by the storm. The company said it has also arranged for extra electrical contractors and tree trimming services, gathered replacement poles and transformers, and prepared vehicles for any required work.

Residents are encouraged to be prepared for possible outages—JCP&L recommended customers with well water fill bath tubs with water; both companies recommend making sure you have plenty of blankets, candles and matches, fresh batteries, and if you have a generator, gas for it.

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