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January 23, 2016

South Jersey both digs out and hunkers down amid blizzard's bluster

'Maybe we close up and go home,' said a pizza deliveryman in Collingswood

Weather Snow
01232016_Collingswood_snow_KS Kevin C. Shelly/PhillyVoice

The town of Collingswood in Camden County heeded the official call to stay off the streets, allowing governments to plow out South Jersey during an hours-long lull in the blizzard. Almost no businesses were open on the normally bustling Haddon Avenue.

“I’m the lucky delivery guy,” Dan Nardi said with a tone meant to convey just how unlucky he was to be working Saturday – during a blizzard. 

Even a blizzard with a lull in winds and precipitation.

Nardi was looking around an empty Collingswood, Camden County pizzeria, hands in his pockets, facing the borough’s deserted main street, which was plowed, but covered with snow.

Our drivers have had to stop several times to tow and push people out of intersections, which is a good thing, but drags on our efficiency." – Camden County Freeholder Susan Shin Angulo

“I spent an hour digging out. I just live a few blocks, so the drive here was two minutes. But it doesn’t look good,” he said of the empty tables and quiet phones.

While seven pies were ordered early for a pick-up, Café Antonia, which routinely jumps with orders on Saturday, was dead quiet, as was all of Haddon Avenue.

“We open up because we have nothing else to do and we live in town,” said manager Jiacomo Biondo, almost sounding apologetic.

“Maybe we close up and go home,” said Nardi – exactly what officials would like everyone to do while they get a handle on the more than a foot of snow that socked South Jersey, with maybe another four inches still to come.

"Residents need to stay indoors and not travel on the roadways,” cautioned Camden County Freeholder Susan Shin Angulo. “We have more than 100 vehicles clearing 1,200 lane miles of roadway. We’ve had great success in light of the challenging conditions.

“But our success is based on how effective we can be with limited time as snow quickly accumulates," she added. "Our drivers have had to stop several times to tow and push people out of intersections, which is a good thing, but drags on our efficiency."

She advised the public to stay at home and away from their cars while the storm blusters.

Unlike coastal areas of New Jersey, where tens of thousands of customers have lost power, there are no reported outages in Camden County.

Which is good news for Brad Maultain and Caroline Carr, both of Haddonfield.

While they didn’t stay home, they took PATCO for just two stops to Collingswood.

Their plans were to walk a few blocks through the plowed streets and then chill with his parents – who have a better-stocked fridge.

“There will probably be an exchange, some shoveling in return for food,” said Maultain, 30, nodding his head at the prospect. “Maybe some movie action. I’ll go outside with my nephew and be a kid again. 

"Being a kid again – that would be great!”

For her part, Carr, 30, scoffed at the notion that Saturday had produced a lot of snow. 

“I’m from New England,” she said knowingly.