By JOSEPH SAPIA
With only a coating at best, Tuesday’s snow event in the Asbury Park area was kind of a bust.
“I was all excited this morning,” said Sam Vaccaro Sr. Tuesday afternoon. “Now, I’m disappointed.”
Vaccaro owns The Hardware in Asbury Park and was ready to sell snow shovels, snowblowers, de-icing salt, those kinds of things. But, while he was talking, the city looked just like another so-so day that was clearing up.
“If it doesn’t snow, business is way off,” said Vaccaro, noting people are not buying lawn-and-garden and other outside items this time of year.
Earlier in the day, there was snow potential, enough for two to four inches in the Monmouth County area, maybe more, said John W. Tobia, director of the county Department of Public Works and Engineering.
And, not far from the Asbury Park area, snow fell in the inches: three or more inches on the western Monmouth County-Middlesex County boundary, for example.
In Bradley Beach, the school district closed its school, sending the pre-kindergarteners to eighth-graders home at 12:30 p.m., rather than 3:10 p.m., said Superintendent of Schools Joseph G. Majka, who also is the school principal.
“The forecast was calling for six inches of snow, the heaviest this afternoon,” said Majka, speaking in the early afternoon. “I just wanted to make sure the kids were home safe and sound.”
The Bradley Beach school district is a walking district for its 300 students, so there is no busing issue, Majka said.
One, Majka wanted to get in at least a partial school day, he said. And, two, there is a concern about throwing off the schedules of working parents, Majka said.
“The last thing you want to do is close,” Majka said.
People seem a lot more interested in the weather after Superstorm Sandy devastated much of New Jersey in October 2012, said Richard J. Cuttrell, a Neptune Township resident who runs the Tri-State Storm Watch website.
“Everybody seems a lot more sensitive (to a storm) because of Sandy,” said Cuttrell, who also is Neptune Township’s township clerk and township meteorologist.
“These also seems to be a lot more hype of storms,” said Cuttrell, referring to the media and Internet users. “I think a lot of times that’s unfounded.”
Or, perhaps, people are demanding more weather information, Cuttrell said.
Early Tuesday, the county road department pre-treated its roadways with rock and liquid salt, Tobia said. Then, the department continued its maintenance of the roads.
At 7 a.m., the county road department activated its Snow Operations Center, or “snow room,” a kind of nerve-center when there is a concern for winter driving conditions, Tobia said. It operates at the county road department headquarters in Freehold Township, but could move its operation to the Office of Emergency Management, also in Freehold Township, if necessary to be part of a greater emergency response.
As the day went on, there was more of a concern for “black ice,” the slippery but hard-to-see ice on road surfaces, that could form with melting snow freezing as temperatures dropped at night.
“A lot of cold air’s going to follow for the next few days,” Cuttrell said. “We’re going to try to avoid the black ice.”
Tobia gave a general advisory to drivers:
“We ask the public to use caution, additional distance for stopping, additional time to get to their destination, just as a precaution,” Tobia said.
Tobia also asked the public to be patient with road-maintenance vehicles, such as snow-plows and salt-spreaders, dealing with wintry conditions.
At the Vaccaro hardware store, early Tuesday morning was “very busy,” said Sam Vaccaro Jr.
“We were more ready,” Vaccaro Jr. said. “But it really wasn’t what we were hoping for.”
Vaccaro said his father had a hard time sleeping Monday night into Tuesday.
“I always get that way when it’s going to snow,” Vaccaro Sr. said. “I get so excited, I can’t wait to come to work.”
Now there is a chance of snow moving into the area this Sat., Dec. 14 with a coastal storm.
“It’s a little early yet (to tell),” said Cuttrell, speaking Tuesday afternoon, “probably snow changing to rain.”
Cuttrell advised following weather forecasts later in the week.
Vaccaro Sr. is looking to a snowy season. He has snow-blowers to sell.
“Hopefully, we’re going to have a good winter,” Vaccaro Sr. said. “I’d love to sell them this season.”
Pictured above – File photo of Asbury Park during the Blizzard of 2010.