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Most power restored in NJ as NY-area cleans up

February 3, 2011 2:15:01 PM PST
Drivers beware, as it's another slick morning with roads coated in ice. Crews have been working to clear the ice and snow and restore power.

There are now less than 300 customers without power in the Garden State.

"We're celebrating the fact that everyone on the block has heat again," one Westfield, New Jersey homeowner said.

The relief was visible on the faces of residents, who feared they'd spend the night in the dark and cold after the ice storm knocked out power to their neighborhood.

But thanks to utility crews working tirelessly throughout the night, neighbors got their power back and their all-important heat.

"This morning, the way the street looked, we did not expect to have power, heat," resident Dee Vincentsen said.

Once the lights came on, you could clearly see the damage the storm left behind. Snapped trees and power lines were down across Westfield, some marked by the flashing police lights warning people to keep away.

Up in Rockland County, crews also worked all night treating roads and parking lots to prevent icing as the temperature dropped. At a commuter lot in Nanuet, workers had to wait until after dark, when the cars were finally gone, to get to work removing snow and ice.

A bobcat with a snow blower attachment cleared sidewalks, while bus shelters got a fresh treatment of salt to tackle the thick layer of ice.

"It's challenging, because there's more accidents cause it's more difficult for drivers to drive on it," Clarkstown Highway superintendent Wayne Ballard said. "And it's challenging in that we have to use a lot more salt than if there was snow."

In Spring Valley, there were spots of slush on some side streets, though most major roads were clear.

The other good news is that New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road expect normal service.

But for commuters, the mix of ice and snow was just another tiring chapter in the saga of this wicked winter.

"You never get used to it," commuter John Santamaria said. "But what the heck."

The Public Works department in New Jersey will be working Thursday to clear snow mounds from the streets. They have allocated the entire day for the project.

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