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Will Goehrig clears snow from an alley behind the Wellmont Theater during Tuesday’s winter storm. CHRISTOPHER SHANNON/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

By ERIN ROLL and LINDA MOSS
roll@montclairlocal.news
moss@montclairlocal.news

Montclair spent Wednesday continuing to dig out of a late winter nor’easter that dropped at least half a foot of snow and sleet on Montclair and the surrounding area starting early Tuesday morning.

Tuesday’s storm fell short of the original dire forecasts for most of the area, forecasts that had anticipated between 16 and 24 inches of snow, but it was enough to cause numerous closings and cancellations around the region. The township declared a state of emergency, which it lifted at noon Wednesday, and township crews were continuing with the cleanup.

Essex County received from eight to 15 inches of snow during the storm, according to the National Weather Service. It does not break out data for Montclair but does for nearby towns. West Orange had 8.5 inches, North Caldwell had 9 inches, and Cedar Grove registered 10.4 inches, according to the service.

Montclair didn’t appear to have suffered any power outages, and there was only one report of an injury during the storm, a pedestrian hit-and-run on Tuesday, according to Township Police Lt. David O’Dowd. A 54-year-old man was walking north along Grove Street near Claremont Avenue when he was struck by a vehicle.

In an email, O’Dowd said that the man had been walking in the street when he was struck from behind. The man complained of pain in his side and was taken to a local hospital for treatment; a woman who was walking with him was not injured. The vehicle, described as a tan GMC sport utility vehicle, was reported to have fled north on Grove Street, O’Dowd said.

During and after the storm Montclair issued numerous warnings to residents not to violate municipal codes prohibiting dumping snow in the street when shoveling or blowing snow off driveways and sidewalks, and barring parking on streets during a state of emergency.

Township police towed 34 vehicles for violating the parking restriction, Township Communications Director Katya Wowk said in an email. The owners of those vehicles had “plenty of warning” as “police patrol cars made PA announcements on the streets where cars were parked,” according to Wowk.

“People were given ample opportunity to move their vehicles off the roads before tow trucks were called,” she said.

As for snow removal, Township Fire Chief John Herrmann said that enforcement officials were not handing out tickets but had talked to several hundred people who were busy clearing snow, reminding them that it’s illegal to dump snow onto the streets and asking them to remove any snow they might have placed on the roadway, according to Wowk.

Enforcement also spoke to contractors doing the same, and were also able to call contractors, as well, to tell them they must clear off the snow that was plowed onto roadways, Wowk said. The town’s Code Enforcement Division, which is part of the fire department, continued to take this approach on Wednesday.

Several township officals lauded municipal public works employees for their work clearing local streets. On Tuesday, crews had made at least one plow run, and several streets were plowed more than once, according to Wowk. Crews started on a second plow run and began spreading brine after the snow subsided in the afternoon, she said.

“This is the first time with 17 years on the council that nobody called me to complain,” Councilman at-Large Bob Russo said. “I think that the town, the public works folks, did a good job. … It’s always better to be prepared. We expected more, and it turned out to be less.”

Third Ward Councilman Sean Spiller said via email Tuesday evening that crews had been out since 3 a.m. plowing.

“With residents cooperating greatly, by having their vehicles off the streets and out of lots, it is helping [the Department of Community Services] in their efforts to get everything cleared off,” he said. “I commend the DCS [Department of Community Services] staff and urge everyone to use caution if they leave their homes.”

The Montclair Public Schools, as well as Lacordaire Academy and Immaculate Conception High School, were closed Tuesday and Wednesday; Montclair Kimberley Academy was closed only Tuesday. Montclair State University also canceled classes Tuesday and had a delayed opening on Wednesday.

The township canceled garbage and recycling collection, with it set to resume Thursday.