The township has opened a warming center at the municipal complex to provide relief from those residents still without power following Hurricane Sandy's impact on the region last week, and the expected impact of the most recent weather event.
The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday, Township Administrator Anthony Ferrara said Wednesday.
The opening is also one of several steps taken in anticipation of between two and six inches of snow forecast to begin arriving tonight into Thursday via winter storm Athena, Ferrara said.
Residents will find hot beverages, televisions, a Wi-Fi center and the ability to charge computers, cell phone and other electronic gear, he said.
Bottled water and water for use in septic systems will be available a the center from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. as well.
There are 843 PSE&G customers still without power, and 28 customers of JCP&L without power, Ferrara said. During the peak of the storm, there were thousands of outages.
Ferrara said emergency management coordinator John Sheridan and Hillsborough Police Chief Paul Kaminsky have put plans in motion to address whatever needs arise during the next weather event, including activating local public works crews and private contractors, prepping plows and having 30 tons of salt on hand, Ferrara said.
Township public works crews have been also clearing storm drains of debris, clearing roads of trees and wires and ensuring that the roads are clear.
Ferrara said he has also been in contact with volunteer organizations and the township’s CERT team, who are prepared to assist during the next storm.
“We’re in a good position,” Ferrara said.
Several township roads are still closed because of trees or wires, he said.
As of noon Wednesday, the following roads were posted as closed:
- Three Bridges Road, north of Hockenbury Road
- East Mountain Road between Daval Road and Mountainview Road
- Orchard Drive between Crater Road and River Road
- Longhill Road between Montgomery Road and Dutchtown Zion Road
- Dutchtown Zion Road between Longhill Road and Route 601
- Township Line Road between South Woods Road and Riverview Terrace
- Township Line Road between Pike Run and Willow Road
- Old Camplain Road
- Claudia Road between Hammler and Johnanson Road.
Somerset County listed theses roads as closed:
- South Branch River Road, between Beekman Lane and Studdiford Drive
- Route 650, Old Amwell Road between Route 514 Amwell Road and Amsterdam Drive
One of those PSE&G customers without power is Cheryl Graziano, who lives in the hilly southwestern part of the township along the South Branch of the Raritan River.
She said she’s been without power for 10 days, running her home off a generator. She needs power to run the pump in her well and concerned about the condition of her pets.
As far as she can tell, “We are the only part of Hillsborough without power,” said Graziano, who has taken on the role of spokeswoman for her neighbors.
She said she has called the power company, and even spoke to power crews while passing through Hillsborough. She also called Assemblywoman Donna Simon, for help. Simon’s office said the complaint was passed along to PSE&G.
There are between 400 and 500 homes in her section of the township, she said.
A PSE&G truck was seen along the road recently and looked over a couple of wires but no repair work had been evident.
“The trees have been removed and the wires are gone,” Graziano said. That is a big improvement, because “River Road was a disaster.”
Last year, Graziano said, after the Halloween snow storm, “the power was out three or four days. This year it is 10.”
Now with the threat of snow and colder temperatures, she said, “get my power back and I’ll be happy.”