TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Exhausted commuters pointed fingers and demanded answers Friday, a day after a modest snowstorm stranded motorists on slippery roads for hours, paralyzed the public transit network serving New York City and its suburbs and even forced some New Jersey children to stay overnight in their schools.
How, they asked, could a few inches of snow in a region used to this sort of weather lead to such chaos?
“Clearly we could have done better and we will do better,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised a “full review.”
“We’re all unhappy with what happened,” he said.
The storm, which had earlier socked the South and Midwest, swept into the New York City metro area just before the evening commute Thursday before heading north into New England overnight.
The snowfall totals were modest in most places — 6 or 7 inches — but it was unusually icy and thousands of slow-speed car crashes led to gridlock that made it tough for plows to get through.
In West Orange, New Jersey, more than a hundred students stayed late into the night, some until morning, at a middle school after buses became stranded for hours and turned back. Staffers stayed overnight and made dinner for students who couldn’t get home.
“It was so long, I’m just excited to go home and go to sleep,” student Breanna Dannestoy told NBC New York.
Some New York City schoolchildren were stuck on buses for up to five hours. The last one got home at 3 a.m. Friday, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said.
Murphy, a Democrat, said “lousy” forecasts were partly to blame.
He took a pounding on social media from people complaining about his handling of the storm, including one of his highest-profile constituents. Former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, tweeted at Murphy that it took him nearly six hours to travel roughly 30 miles.
Murphy didn’t respond directly to his predecessor.
Gary Szatkowski, former chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service in New Jersey, said on Twitter that it was the state’s poorly executed snow removal plan, not meteorologists, who screwed up.