PARSIPPANY — Three Republican lawmakers called on Governor Phil Murphy to send in the National Guard to help local communities recover. Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, and Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips questioned Murphy’s slow response to two recent nor’easters that left thousands without power and hundreds of stranded vehicles on North Jersey roadways.
“There is great concern from municipal officials with roadways shutdown and continued power outages across Morris, Essex, and Passaic counties since Friday,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). The administration needs to provide greater resources to the municipalities in helping get residents out of their homes and into warming centers.
Morris County OEM Center has been staffed around the clock since the first storm on Friday, March 2. They have been coordinating efforts with JCP&L to assist vital situations immediately and ensure the safety of Morris County residents.
“Governor Murphy should have mobilized the National Guard to help local officials deal with these destructive storms,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “Thousands of North Jersey residents remained in the dark and cold even as yesterday’s nor’easter was bearing down on them.”
Upon meeting with the JCP&L workers staged at CCM on Wednesday, March 7, the Governor did not provide outage numbers for Morris County. Freeholder Heather Darling attended the meeting with JCP&L workers, thanking crews from Kentucky, Florida, Pennsylvania and other areas who were being dispatched to assist JCP&L crews already working to restore power to Morris County residents. Darling explained to workers that, with 70,000 outages from last week’s storm and approximately 10,000 still without power, additional anticipated outages from Wednesday’s storm further delaying restoration were more than some families in Morris County could withstand. Outages were around 60,000 after Wednesday’s storm.
Rooney noted there were some 500 to 600 stranded vehicles blocking roadways in North Jersey last night and, as of this morning, more than 243,000 households have no power.
“Clearly JCP&L isn’t equipped to handle these outages,” continued Rooney. “With a possible third storm on the near horizon, the governor’s failure to activate the National Guard is troubling.
The National Weather Service says another storm is possible next week, making it the third coastal storm in 10 days.
Currently JCP&L, with over 2,000 workers, cannot access all the neighborhoods they need to get into,” DeCroce continued “The governor needs to strongly consider sending out members from the National Guard to help assist the communities. We need to address the current needs in the event another storm hits us possibly on Monday.”
DeCroce said a pileup on Route 10 yesterday left people stranded in their vehicles for hours.
A dump truck overturned on Route 10 Wednesday evening, making the road impassable. The Morris County Sheriff’s Office assisted by providing blankets and water and rescuing those in need of immediate help. The scene was quickly cleared in spite of the strong wind and snow conditions.
Resources that would have been used to help plow Routes 46, 80 and 287 were sent instead to deal with the accident.
“Storm response requires tenacious and persistent follow through from the administration,” said DePhillips (R-Bergen). “We have had two destructive and deadly storms in five days- and a third is on the horizon.”
“The administration can, and must, provide all available resources to the utilities and municipalities in our area so clean-up and power restoration can occur rapidly before another deadly storm hits us,” concluded DePhillips.
More than 320,000 homes and businesses lost power during the storm’s height. Friday’s nor’easter left 300,000 New Jerseyans without power. Areas of North Jersey received up to two feet of snow from yesterday’s storm.