New Jersey's first major snowstorm of 2021 is expected to leave over a foot of snow blanketing North and Central Jersey, as well as blizzard conditions and gusty winds that could make travel difficult while bringing down branches and power lines.

As the light snow begins to fall, trucks are banned from some New Jersey roads, utilities are at the ready and schools have canceled school completely or moved all instruction online for the day.

Snow that started on Sunday afternoon will increase in intensity during Monday morning with bands of heavy snow developing that could drop two inches of snow per hour for a time, according to New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.

"The nasty wintry weather will be made worse by the fierce northeast winds, gusting up to 50 mph. That will cause blowing and drifting snow — near-blizzard conditions are possible, as visibility is severely reduced," Zarrow said. "Those wind gusts, especially when combined with the weight of snow and ice, could also bring down trees and power lines. Power outages during a powerful winter storm are not good."

Moderate coastal flooding is also expected through several high tide cycles in a row.

The Department of Transportation said it has 3,000 plows and salt spreaders ready to clear state highways as commercial vehicle travel restriction goes into place at noon. The state also has crews in position on Route 280 and the Jugtown Mountain area of Route 78 between exits 7 and 11 to handle disabled vehicles.

HIGHWAYS

New Jersey has a commercial vehicle travel restriction in place starting at noon on Sunday for tractor trailers, empty straight CDL-weighted trucks, passenger vehicles pulling trailers, RV's and motorcycles on the following highways:

  • I-76, from the Walt Whitman Bridge (Pennsylvania border) to NJ Route 42
  • I-78, from the Pennsylvania border to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike)
  • I-80, from the Pennsylvania border to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike)
  • I-195, from I-295 to NJ Route 138
  • I-280, from I-80 to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike)
  • I-287, from NJ Route 440 to the New York State border
  • I-295, from the Delaware Memorial Bridge to the Scudders Falls Bridge (Pennsylvania border)
  • I-676, from the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (Pennsylvania border) to I-76
  • NJ Route 440, from the Outerbridge Crossing to I-287

Trucks already in New Jersey should pull off the highway into truck stops; do not park on the shoulder.

The restriction does not apply to the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway or Atlantic City Expressway

Pennsylvania has a commercial vehicle restriction in place starting at noon on Sunday with roads connecting with New Jersey:

  • Route 80 from the New Jersey state line to Route 81
  • Route 78 from the New Jersey state line to Route 81
  • Pennsylvania Turnpike from the New Jersey state line to the #161 (Breezewood) exit (#161)

TRAINS/BUSES

  • NJ Transit has canceled all rail, bus, light rail and Access Link service on Monday except for the Atlantic City Line which will run on a normal weekday schedule
  • Lakeland Bus Lines will not run on Monday
  • PATCO: Running on a special snow schedule on Monday starting at midnight
  • Amtrak Northeast Corridor operating on a limited schedule. No Acela service.
  • PATH, SEPTA and Amtrak have not yet announced service changes for rail service on Monday.

POWER

AIRPORTS

  • 125 departures into Newark Liberty International Airport and 143 arrivals have been canceled for Monday out of according to FlightAware.com as of 3 p.m. on Sunday.

CORONAVIRUS TESTING/VACCINATION CENTERS

  • The Ocean County Health Department has closed the vaccination sites at Toms River High School North and Southern Regional High School and the drive-thru testing site at Ocean County College on Monday. Appointments are cancelled but will be honored at any clinic next week.
  • All the state vaccine megasites will be closed on Monday. The Bergen, Burlington, and Gloucester County megasites were pre-scheduled to be closed on Monday. Anyone with appointments at the Atlantic, Middlesex, or Morris mega-sites will receive a call from the health care partner at that site and be rescheduled within the week.
  • VNACJ Community Health Center canceled all COVID-19 vaccination appointments which will be rescheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Clients will be notified.

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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ