Editor's Note: This story was updated at 8:45 p.m. Oct. 29.
It's Oct. 29. Halloween is still two days away. And yet snow has been falling in Lawrence Township (and across much of New Jersey) since about 10 o’clock this morning.
And we don't mean a few flurries - we're talking real snow flakes, in quantity and quality that you would think we were well into winter.
Initially, the National Weather Service predicted that about 2 inches of snow would fall on Lawrence Township. By earlier afternoon, however, the weather service amended that forecast to between 4 and 8 inches, with some places in the northwestern corner of the state expected to receive as much as 12 inches.
The snow quickly covered trees, parked cars, lawns, and even roadways. Many tree limbs and some entire trees – still full of leaves – could not bear the weight of the snow and fell, some bringing electrical wires down with them.
Numerous incidents involving toppled trees, snapped limbs and fallen or sparking electrical wires were reported in Lawrence Township on Lawrence Road, Princeton Pike, Federal City Road, Bergen Street, Oaklyn Terrace and other locations, emergency officials said.
As of 7:30 p.m., Public Service Electric & Gas Co. reported that “the number of PSE&G customers without power due to the wet, heavy snow and extensive tree damage is about 350,000, with most of the outages in the company’s northern and central counties including Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Union. The utility provides electric service to 2.2 million customers.”
At that time between 501 and 2,000 customers were reported to be powerless in Lawrence Township. Earlier in the day, the number of Lawrence Township customers who had lost electrical service exceeded 2,000, according to PSE&G.
Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency for the entire state because of the storm.
"As we move through the worst part of this storm, I am urging all New Jerseyans to avoid unnecessary risks in severe weather like this and stay off the roadways tonight, while also issuing a state of emergency to marshal all resources of government to effectively respond," Christie said. "With this declaration, we are taking immediate steps to ensure that state, local and county governments have every tool at their disposal to manage and respond to conditions on the ground, emergency operations plans are activated, and that every part of government is positioned to assist and protect the public through this storm."
To help document the first snowfall of the 2011-2012 season in Lawrence Township, post your photos here. Just click the ‘Submit your photos” link above. Send us shots of your Halloween decorations covered in snow or your kids or pets playing in the white stuff.
Whatever weather-related photos you take today, Lawrenceville Patch is the place to share them with your neighbors!