Fierce blizzard struck the Jersey Shore 7 years ago today

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

The fierce nor’easter began pushing snow bands ashore around noon, 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 two to three inches an hour. Combined with strong winds — gusting over 60 miles per hour at some locations at the Jersey Shore — visibilities were significantly reduced visibilities and roadways became impassable, the summary says.

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.

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

The Philadelphia Eagles game scheduled for the evening was postponed.

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.

Meteorologists said forecast models experienced difficulty predicting the storm track. 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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