As of 11 p.m. Sunday night, Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine said an estimated 1,800 businesses and/or residences in Bernardsville still were reporting power outages, according to information from JCP&L, but local police fire and public works crews were pitching in to clear roadways and other public areas of storm debris and fallen tree limbs.
Many streets and sidewalks have had limited access, according to information from the police department. The Somerset Hills school district's buildings within Bernardsville were closed on Monday, after a two-hour delayed opening was initially announced.
Kings supermarket had remained open, and the Shop-Rite in Bernardsville, closed on Sunday, was open again as of Monday morning.
Police urged caution and asked residents to lease use caution and avoid approaching potentially dangerous areas. Power company and tree crews were expected throughout the night.
Police asked anyone in need of shelter or special assistance to call the police department at 908-766-0037. Shelters are open in neighboring communities and arrangements have been made to accept Bernardsville residents if needed. Call police for nearby shelters.
As had already started on Sunday, potable water was being distributed at the Bernardsville Library on Anderson Hill Road and the Bernardsville firehouse on Mine Brook Road, available 24 hours a day. Residents are asked to bring their own containers.
The Bernardsville Police Department has a limited number of generators available for residents requiring power for various life support or medical needs. Please call the Police Department if you require this service.
Cell phone service is functioning, please note many residential phone lines are out of service. Call 911 or 908-766-0037 for emergencies.
The latest figures for Bernardsville homes without power was put at 3,065 by Jersey Central Power & Light's outage map as of about 3:30 p.m., but Mayor Lee Honecker said that the estimate about an hour or two earlier — 3,300 households — represented about 90 to 95 percent of borough customers who had suffered power outages in this lateststorm.
The borough had declared a state of emergency as of Saturday, Honecker said in an interview at about 2 p.m.
Since many homes in the borough rely on private wells that need electricity to function, Honecker said the town is distributing drinking water at the Bernardsville Library on Anderson Hill Road, and at the Bernardsville Fire Co. firehouse on Mine Brook Road (Route 202 south of Olcott Square). Residents should bring containers.
Bernards Township later announced that Kings supermarket in Bernardsville also is distributing free water and ice to JCP&L customers without power.
Police Chief Kevin Valentine said residents with special needs should call the borough police headquarters at 908-766-0037.
Honecker said that JCP&L had informed officials that power could take two to three days to restore in Bernardsville.
On Sunday afternoon, Honecker said that JCP&L had informed officials that 24 crews were out removing trees throughout the borough. He said he and the police chief had on Saturday estimated that 50 to 60 power lines had been downed around the borough.
Honecker said he is hoping that once trees are removed — allowing JCP&L workers to reach the wires that need repair — some households will begin to come back online sooner than estimated. About 250 homes apparently had power restored between 2 to 3:30 p.m., according to the outage map.
The state of emergency allows borough officials to require drivers to stay off roads, and especially not to remove road barricades on roads with downed wires and trees, according to Honecker.
In response to a question, Honecker said he didn't know if schools would be closed the next day, but he had received no information as of that time.
At that point, the Kings supermarket in Bernardsville was open, while ShopRite remained closed, he said.
Eventually, if the borough receives other approvals, the town could receive aid to result with the storm's consequences, Honecker said.