Quinn buries West Orange in snow, fallen trees, powerlines

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Winter Storm Quinn tore through the northeast on March 7, dropping anywhere from a few inches to a couple feet of snow in some places and knocking down numerous trees and powerlines. West Orange was not an exception, as the storm left many residents without power while they shoveled out their driveways.

According to PSE&G, there were 5,334 customers without power in Essex County as of March 9, 945 of them lived in West Orange. Of the company’s 2.2 million customers, about 29,000 were without power as a result of the storm on March 9. PSE&G was able to bring in personnel from power companies in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois to assist with restoring power to residents in New Jersey.

West Orange Public Information Officer Susan Anderson told the West Orange Chronicle that at the peak of the storm, there were 4,000 residents in town without power. West Orange also received reports of 700 damaged trees, 160 downed wires and 116 calls for emergency service.

Township engineer Len Lepore said that the town’s personnel was unable to plow for a period of time during the storm due to the weight of the snow.

“The weight of the snow caused branches, limbs and whole trees to fall into the streets in all neighborhoods of West Orange,” Lepore said in an email to the Chronicle on March 12. “That severely hindered the ability to plow streets as falling trees where a danger to the drivers of the plow and salt trucks, and fallen trees blocked roadways and prevented streets from being cleared.”

The Department of Public Works was able to return to cleaning up when the storm ended, and worked into Friday morning to clear snow from the streets.

“Work continues to trim and prune branches and limbs from damaged trees, and in some cases where trees are extremely hazardous they will be removed.  This work will continue for several more weeks,” Lepore said. “The snowfall amounts averaged about 20 inches over the township with slightly less amounts in the eastern section near the Orange and Montclair border.  The amount approached 2 feet moving westerly and up the hills.

“This alone slows the plowing process, but combined with the number of fallen limbs, trees and branches, the plowing process in some neighborhoods was at a standstill until wires and trees were removed,” he continued.

Lepore said work to trim and remove fallen trees and branches will continue for the next few weeks.

Photos Courtesy of Cindy Hughes