Polar Express Stopping at Shore

 

coaster-news-200-newBy JOSEPH SAPIA

On Tuesday, Donna Ryan was out of breath, shoveling snow on a neighbor’s sidewalk on Bradley Beach’s Ocean Avenue.

“I’ve had enough,” said Ryan, 49, speaking of the winter weather.

The snow is one thing, but the cold has been worse — frozen pipes, the furnace chugging to keep up.

“It’s been a tough February,” Ryan said. “We had an easy December and January. It was great. Then, February came back to bite us.

“My poor kids,” said Ryan, speaking of son, Jake, 13 and daughter, Kylie, 9. “They need to get outside. In 10 minutes, they’re freezing.”

During a Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 16-17 storm, 6.2 inches of snow fell in Neptune, according to Township Clerk Richard J. Cuttrell, who is the local weather guru.

That snowfall brought the local snow total for the season up to 27.0 inches, which is about normal for an entire season, said Cuttrell, who operates the Tri-State Storm Watch website. And snow season is weeks from being over.

The Sunday-Monday overnight of Feb. 15 and 16 produced the coldest temperature of the winter, 0.0 degrees in Neptune about 6 a.m. Monday, Cuttrell said. But brace, yourselves.

“We’ll do better than that Friday morning,” said Cuttrell, speaking of Friday, Feb. 20, “0 to 5 below (0) for the whole area.”

The Jersey Shore Dream Center in Asbury Park has given out an estimated 500 blankets to homeless people this winter, said its director, the Rev. Isaac Friedel. On Thursdays, the Dream Center serves a hot-meal supper and, in winter, “I notice an increase in the numbers, people staying longer,” Friedel said.

How was winter treating Bob Cece, 70, who was shoveling the sidewalk around his house in Ocean Grove.

“I hate it,” Cece said.

“December and January wasn’t as bad as last year,” Cece said. “And you can’t complain about the amount of snow. (But) one day after another is too much.”

If there was a consolation, the snow Feb. 16-17 Cece was shoveling was fluffy, meaning it was light and easy to move.

It was the equivalent of 20 inches of snow for 1 inch of precipitation, “rather than the 10-to-1 standard,” Cuttrell said. So, the 6.2 inches of snow was based on precipitation of about 3/10s of an inch, he said.

“It’s very easy to push,” said Patrick O’Rourke, 29, who was cleaning a residential property on Avon’s Sylvania Avenue.

O’Rourke owns PS Property Maintenance in Neptune. So, his winter business of plowing and shoveling started slow this winter.

“Up to mid-January, I guess it was, the we started getting storms,” O’Rourke said. “You have good years and bad years (for the snow business). It’s the nature of the beast. Last year, we had a good year. Take it when you can get it.”

As for the cold on Monday, Feb. 16, it set a record — with records kept since the late 1800s — for Atlantic City, whose 2 degrees beat 1888’s 3 degrees and tied a 1888 record in Trenton at 1 degree, Cuttrell said.

John Hansen, captain of the Allenhurst Fire Department Dive Team, warned about ice on bodies of water.

“As I always say, the ice is never safe, especially near the runoffs from the bridges and the street drains,” Hansen said. “Salt from the runoffs make the ice very unpredictable.”

And during winter, what do people eat?

“In this weather, people want the comfort food,” said Ryan, who with her husband, Shawn, are co-owners of the FINS Tropicali Cuisine restaurant in Bradley Beach. “You’re not eating a salad.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, Shelby Buron, 47, pulling her son, Chase, 4, in a sled, were out in their town of Ocean Grove, taking advantage of the “balmy,” as she put it, 24-degree temperature.

“We’re getting tired of winter,” Buron said.

Buron and her family had just got back from Antigua, where is was sunny and 85 degrees.

“We didn’t want to get off the plane,” said Buron, adding it was both the snow and cold that was getting to her.

“Spring can’t come soon enough,” Ryan said.

“Think summer,” Cece said.

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