Orange, East Orange prepare for Winter Storm Stella

ORANGE/EAST ORANGE, NJ — The threat of a nor’easter, Winter Storm Stella, that was expected to dump between 10 and 18 inches of snow on New Jersey had officials in Orange and East Orange scrambling to make last-minute preparations for snow removal, street plowing and salting, and other essential emergency services.

“Due to inclement weather conditions, trash and recycling pickup will be cancelled on Tuesday, March 14,” said Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren in an email his office sent out to everyone on the city’s mailing list.

Warren also rescheduled the “Chalk the Walk” anti-smoking event from Monday, March 13, to Thursday, March16, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. Anyone interested in obtaining more information about “Chalk the Walk” can call Councilwoman Adrienne Wooten at 973-419-9049.

“Chalk the Walk is an event to take the truth about cigarette smoking to the streets with creativity,” said Warren in an email also sent on Monday, March 13.

Warren also listed off-street parking for residents in emails sent on Monday, March 13.

“These parking lots are available for residents until 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 15,” said Warren. “Please tune in to the messages that we have communicated by email, phone, hand delivery and public postings. Please move cars from the street and park in designated off street parking lots. Thanks to our community partners we have access to off street parking so that we may plow the streets from curb to curb.”

Warren also urged all Orange residents to: “Please observe safety measures during the storm by staying home when possible.”

“Also reach out to the most vulnerable to inclement weather prior to the storm so that they are fully prepared in a warm and safe environment,” said Warren. “Our entire emergency management crew will be out around the clock working to keep us safe. Thank you for your cooperation.”

Meanwhile, in East Orange, Mayor Lester Taylor was gearing up to deal with the big storm that was expected to hit the city during his last few months in office, the same way he did with the snowstorm that dropped 8 to 10 inches of snow and created dangerous icing conditions a few weeks after he was first sworn into office in 2013 — by personally getting involved and leading the response and cleanup effort.

“In anticipation of the hazardous blizzard conditions of Winter Storm Stella, the city of East Orange is asking for the cooperation of the entire community to help ensure safe passages on our roadways and residents and motorists are encouraged to exercise caution and adhere to all no parking rules,” said Taylor on Monday, March 13. “A blizzard warning from the National Weather Bureau is in effect from 2 a.m. Tuesday, March 14, until Tuesday afternoon, with more light snow and gusty winds into Wednesday. Heavy snow, between 12 and 20 inches, falling at a rate of 2 inches per hour, is anticipated with temperatures in the upper 20s to low 30s. Whiteout conditions are likely and motorists should exercise extreme caution. Residents are encouraged to refrain from travel, unless in the case of an emergency.”

Taylor went on to note that Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura had announced that Essex County’s “Code Blue” procedures would be in effect for the duration of the blizzard warning due to extreme cold weather and snow in the forecast. Conditions for a Code Blue are defined as when the temperature drops below 15 degrees for a 48-hour period or when the wind chill is below 0 degrees.

“Shelter for East Orange residents in need will be provided by the Essex County LGBT RAIN Foundation located at 168 Park St. in East Orange,” said Taylor. “Starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday, all snow emergency parking rules are in effect. Motorists should adhere to all no parking signs on all county and city roads. Garbage and recycling operations will be cancelled Tuesday.”

But there is one thing that Taylor and the city’s other Office of Emergency Management personnel and Public Works Department employees said all East Orange homeowners and businesses could do to help with the snow removal effort once Winter Storm Stella ends.

“As the storm progresses, residents are asked not to shovel snow into the street,” said Taylor. “Residents and business owners are encouraged to remove snow from fire hydrants located in front of their residences or businesses. Plowing will begin when snow depths reach 2 inches and freezing temperatures indicate no melting.”

Taylor noted the only way to avoid additional snow removal is to wait until DPW work crews have completed their final clean-up of your road. He also said: Most streets will require three or four passes and some streets may require as few as two passes, or, as many as five passes.

Essex County Public Works has designated workers to ensure that all county roadways are accessible for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The following East Orange streets are Essex County Roads: South Orange Avenue, Central Avenue, Park Avenue, North Grove Street, South Grove Street and Sanford Street.

Tenants without heat or hot water may call the Department of Property Maintenance at 973-266-5320 for assistance.