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Burlington County highway crews and emergency management officials are ready to respond to the first major snowstorm on the season.
The National Weather Service has placed all of Burlington County under a winter storm watch and forecasting between two inches to as much as a foot of snow accumulation in the county.
Currently weather models are predicting county towns along the Delaware River will receive between eight to 12 inches of snow. Those further central and southeast will likely receive lesser amounts.
The Weather Service is also warning that very strong winds are also expected, and the combination of heavy snow and winds are likely to cause power outages.
The Burlington County Office of Emergency Management is on alert and ready to coordinate whatever storm response is required.
“Our road crews and emergency management team is ready for whatever weather this storm brings and will be in close communication with first responders, hospitals and utilities,” said Freeholder Dan O’Connell, the board’s liaison to the County departments of Public Safety and Public Works. “We’re urging residents to take precautions and to avoid unnecessary travel and heed all Weather Service warnings.”
The Burlington County Department of Roads and Bridges fleet of 52 highway trucks are ready for winter salting and plowing operations and will be deployed in advance of the storm. A contractor is also on standby to assist the County with an additional eight trucks if needed.
The County has about 4,500 tons of salt available in its maintenance yards, plus an additional 21,000 gallons of liquid calcium to use for de-icing roads.
Due to the forecasted storm, the County Department of Health has changed its COVID-19 testing schedule at the County Human Services Building in Westampton.
Testing this week was scheduled for mornings and afternoons Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursday. However, because of the storm, the Department will test from 9 AM to noon on Wednesday and from noon to 4 PM on Thursday.
Testing will also be performed on Friday this week from 9AM to noon and 1PM to 4PM in order to accommodate for the storm’s disruption.
For next week and the week after, testing will be on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9AM to noon and 1PM to 4PM.
Typically, between 900 and 1,000 people are tested during each daily clinic.
“We know COVID-19 testing is critical right now and the adjusted schedule is a way to continue it while also keeping folks safe and off the roads during the storm,” O’Connell said. “By adding a testing day we make sure those who want to be tested still have access.”
Code Blue Weather Emergency
A Code Blue weather emergency was declared Monday evening due to the frigid temperatures and forecasted storm. It will remain in effect for the duration of the storm and cold spell. Currently, it is scheduled to be lifted at 7 AM Saturday.
During the declaration, the County provides for short-term sheltering in clean, safe locations.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Individuals will also be sheltered in separate rooms to guard against the spread of coronavirus.
Residents in need of shelter are encouraged to call 211 for assistance.
Burlington County trucks were equipped with plows and loaded with salt in anticipation of the first major winter storm of the season.