“Bomb Cyclone” Hits Howell

Local kids work on shoveling away some of the snow in their neighborhood. (Photo courtesy Farmingdale Fire Department Facebook)

HOWELL – On the weekend of Jan. 4, local communities were struck by the largest snowfall of the season yet when a “bomb cyclone” left Howell covered in nearly two feet of snow.

Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro said that the initial weather reports predicted 5”-8” of snow for Howell Township. “Our final total snow fall was reported to be 18 inches,” he said.

The blizzard raged on throughout Thursday, Jan. 4 and the weekend felt its effects as road conditions continued to be tricky.

A state of emergency was declared in four New Jersey counties, including Monmouth County, by Governor Christie. Howell Township then declared a local state of emergency, said Nicastro. The state of emergency warnings were in part meant to help keep drivers off the roads for both the safety of the drivers and the accessibility of the snow plows.

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“The challenge with this storm was the quickness of the snow fall as well as the high winds and extreme cold,” explained Nicastro.

With a snow storm of this magnitude, it is always a concern to make sure the roads are plowed, salted and safe for drivers. This became a challenge for the township when they “lack the manpower and equipment to handle these storms as quickly as some residents expect,” with the 573 lane miles that comprises Howell, according to Nicastro.

Despite this, the township worked as hard and fast as possible to man the plows and clear the road ways efficiently.

“The administration has to manage manpower and give our plow drivers adequate rest,” he said. “Therefore, split shifts were initiated. The Department of Public Works added seven seasonal workers plus called our outside plowing contractors who augment township snow removal efforts.”

Residents are still advised to drive carefully and obey the no street parking ordinance while the streets are still being treated with brine. Nicastro noted that it takes at least 16 to 24 hours after the snow stops for the roads to be completely clear.

“All in all, the Department of Public Works did a fantastic job under the weather conditions and continue to make the safety of our residents a top priority,” he said.