9 years ago, a fierce blizzard paralyzed the Jersey Shore

South Seaside Park on Dec. 27, 2010. (Photo: Dominick Solazzo)

South Seaside Park on Dec. 27, 2010. (Photo: Dominick Solazzo)

A blizzard pounded the Jersey Shore nine years ago today with tropical storm-force wind gusts and 3 feet of snow in some spots.

The fierce nor’easter began pushing snow bands ashore around noon Dec. 26, 2010, becoming more intense during the afternoon and evening hours as the low-pressure system strengthened, according to a National Weather Service storm summary.

During the evening, the bands were generating snowfall rates of 2 to 3 inches an hour. Combined with strong winds — gusting over 60 mph at some locations at the Jersey Shore — visibility was significantly compromised as roadways became impassable, the summary stated.

With snow drifting to nearly 10 feet in spots, portions of the Garden State Parkway were closed, and numerous motorists became trapped on Route 18 in the Marlboro area.

New Jersey Transit suspended all bus service and trains on the North Jersey Coast Line.

During the peak of the storm around 8 p.m., acting Gov. Stephen Sweeney declared a state of emergency as Gov. Chris Christie was vacationing at Disney World in Florida and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was on vacation in Mexico.

The Philadelphia Eagles game scheduled for the evening was postponed until the following Tuesday night because the National Football League feared for fans’ safety.

By the next day, the Jersey Shore was digging out from massive snow drifts. The National Weather Service reported widespread snowfall measurements of 20 inches plus along the Jersey Shore, with 36 inches in Brick. Cape May topped out around 15 inches.

Meteorologists said forecast models experienced difficulty predicting the storm track. Initial forecasts were for about a foot of snow.

It wasn’t until 24 hours before the storm began impacting the area that the European and American models agreed that the nor’easter would track up the coastline instead of heading out to sea.

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