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30 percent of Bergen has power back, many facilities remain closed

Photo Credit: by Stella Tulli
Photo Credit: by Stella Tulli
Photo Credit: by Stella Tulli
Photo Credit: by Stella Tulli
Photo Credit: by Stella Tulli
Photo Credit: by Stella Tulli
Photo Credit: by Stella Tulli
Photo Credit: by Stella Tulli

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Bergen County-area utilities have restored power to about 30 percent of those customers knocked out by the weekend snowstorm, county officials said.

“This is pretty complicated for them. It’s going to by circuit by circuit,” Lt. Dwane Razzetti, the Bergen County director of Emergency Management told a conference call of officials from throughout the county this afternoon.

Hospitals were the first priority — all are up, Razzetti said. Then come nursing homes, police departments and schools.

Some schools will be open tomorrow; others won’t. The county is offering all districts and public agencies its website so that up-to-the-minute reports can be posted, said Jeanne Baratta, the Chief of Staff for County Executive Kathleen Donovan.

Shelters remain open at FDU’s Rothman Center at 100 University Plaza Drive in Hackensack; Bogota Borough Hall’s Senior Center and United Water’s cafeteria on Old Hook Road in Harrington Park. The Red Cross and FDU are providing “some menu items” for people to eat at the Rothman Center.

Preliminary damage assessment applications were distributed today and need to be returned quickly — “as in: tomorrow morning,” Razzetti said, from the county’s Law & Public Safety complex in Mahwah.

Reimbursable expenses for municipalities include the cost of clearing roads for plowing and salting and, particularly, debris removal.

Donovan and others have been headquartered in Mahwah because power is out at the county administration building in Hackensack.

“We don’t know whether we’re going to be open yet,” Donovan said. “We’ll make that decision tonight.”

Bergenfield and Paramus Catholic high schools are using the field at Overpeck Park in Leonia for matches. Other schools are welcome to do the same, Donovan said.

Even though One Bergen Plaza is closed for business, the Election Division remains open to accept vote-by-maill applications and absentee ballots that are due tomorrow, in advance of next week’s election.

Donovan urged extreme caution for those children trick-or-treating today because of the potential for catastrophe once dead downed power lines are reactivated.

Meanwhile, some officials repeated their plea that parents keep their kids home. Others say, at the very least, to be sure you accompany your youngsters and remain vigilant. All unanimously agree that trick-or-treating, if it’s done, should end before dark. Glen Rock police even set a 5 p.m. curfew.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Officials throughout Bergen County are urging residents not to do any tree cutting of their own, after a 55-year-old man fell from a ladder and had to be hospitalized. For proof of the danger, you need only look at CLIFFVIEW PILOT video of a dead electrical box that exploded after its power returned. CLICK HERE ….

“There are too many locations where serious, very serious conditions exist,” Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox said. “Plan an alternate activity that is safe, and make it a fun Halloween in some other way.”

Because it’s unclear how quickly the utilities can restore power, no plans have been made to reschedule Halloween activities in any town.

Several schools are closed, including Northern Highlands Regional High School, as well as th

e Brookside Middle School and Hillsdale School in Allendale. Closures are also reported in Hackensack, Paramus, Teaneck, Glen Rock, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Leonia, Maywood and Ridgewood.

( Pls. send notice of any closings you know of. )

Several thousand Teaneck customers and nearly 2,000 in Mahwah were still without power this morning and may not have it restored until Wednesday — and in some cases not until Friday. All told, more than 80,000 customers in Bergen County were without power when the morning rush began.

AFTER THE FALL: Even with emergency crews coming up from Florida, North Jersey’s utilities say many of nearly 160,000 Bergen County customers might have to wait until Wednesday to get power back . READ MORE…

PSE&G has brought in emergency crews from Florida and Pennsylvania to help with downed trees and power lines.

It isn’t until that work is done that power can be restored.

The scene in Teaneck (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo by Jason Occhipinti)

Although United Water briefly went on generators, it quickly got back to full power. There are no boiled-water advisories.

Most of the substations around Paramus were the hardest hit. They are coming back on progressively, county officials said Sunday night.

There’s been no talk yet of preliminary damage assessments. However, county officials said residents and businesses can begin calling tomorrow.

Power to The Valley Hospital was restored at 3 a.m. Sunday after it ran on generator power for 12 hours.

A SNOWFALL UNLIKE ANY OTHER: Historic snowfall? How many storms knock out power to 2 million people? How many dump 20 inches across parts of New York and New England? How often do temps drop below freezing — before Halloween? We’ve had four October snowstorms the past 135 years. None have been this nasty. Bergen was the hardest hit county in New Jersey – only 178,000 customers in the rest of the state are in the same boat. READ MORE….

Utility crews waited until the last of the storm had moved through overnight before heading out to clear trees and restore power lines.

New Milford, Westwood, Paramus, Closter, Dumont and Tenafly were among the hardest hit towns. So was Wyckoff, where Fox estimated that 70 percent of customers were without power. The east side of Montvale was out nearly 24 hours. Outages through roughly three-quarters of Teaneck continued into this morning.

But that’s only a partial list of those who’ve reported in to CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

“The damage throughout the community is unprecedented,” Fox said. “The heavy wet snow on trees still bearing leaves caused entire trees and tree limbs to fall. This took down electrical, phone and cable lines.

“The wires present significant dangers to anyone outside,” the chief emphasized. “First, we don’t even know where all of the wires are located. Many are located under the snow. Second, although many broken and down wires are now without power, as service is restored these lines will become charged and dangerous.”

“The possibility of accidental electrocution is very real following this storm,” Fox warned. “Trees or limbs should not be moved by anyone if wires are involved. Children should not be allowed to play outside unless an adult knows it is safe.”

Fox was one of several police officials who asked people to dial 911 only in emergencies. The various police departments throughout Bergen are stretched to the max. Some had to call in auxiliary officers. Many are pulling double shifts.

If you are without power or see a downed line, call either 1-800-436-PSEG (7734) or O&R : 1-877-434-4100 .

“Do not assume that your service provider knows you are without power,” Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan said .


Christine Royland of Westwood sent this shot of her house

“New Milford suffered numerous trees and wires down. Several areas of the borough have been without power,” Chief Frank Papapietro told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

The Bergen County Office of Emergency Management brought extra dispatchers to its command center to assist area emergency departments.

What was originally expected to be 4 inches turned into a lot more than the weather services bargained for.

Some photos are better left without captions. Thank you, Anonymous. (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo)

After pulling his car into the garage Saturday afternoon, a Washington Township man reconsidered his plans to shovel, figuring he’d wait until later. That’s when BAM! A tree fell outside, crushing his mailbox. “Scary stuff,” his wife told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Mike Thibault of Elmwood Park took this

DO YOU have snow damage photos? News of closings or cleared roads? Post comments below, send photos to

Garrison Avenue, Teaneck (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo by Jason Occipinti)

Outwater Lane, Garfield
(CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo by Stella Tulli)

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