New Jersey governor: Don't blame me for storm response
NEW JERSEY (FOX5NY) - Drivers were stranded for hours, mass transit was a mess and stranded elementary students were forced to spend the night at schools. New Jersey's first snowstorm of the season was a disaster and the state's response left them seething.
But Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy wasn't taking the blame. He blamed weather forecasters after the storm dropped more than a half a foot of snow in some areas.
On Thursday, after spending the day touting his accomplishments at a convention in Atlantic City, Murphy took to social media, releasing a video in his tie-less suit, saying forecasters had gotten the storm wrong.
He later released photos showing him in staring at monitors at the state's traffic management center in Woodbridge, again saying "The storm was worse (sic) originally forecasted."
During a news conference Friday, Murphy addressed the state's response to the storm.
He said there were 1,000 vehicular accidents and 1,900 motorist aide requests called in to the state police on Thursday. One person was killed in a crash involving a vehicle and an NJ Transit train on train tracks in New Providence.
Approximately 9,000 power outages were reported across the state.
"It was a perfect storm," Murphy said. "It was not predicted."
That was little consolation to people who were stuck behind accidents, left waiting for NJ Transit buses that never showed up, and unable to navigate unplowed highways.
One woman who is 9-months pregnant was stuck in her car on a road for 8 hours.
People took to Twitter with the hashtag #snowmess to vent their frustration. Former Gov. Chris Christie, who Murphy had criticized earlier in the day, even got into the action. Tweeting "It took me 5 hours and 40 minutes to travel from Piscataway to Mendham. #snowmess." He says the drive normally takes less than 45 minutes.
The woes continued into Friday morning's commute. Trouble-prone NJ Transit, which Murphy has claimed he is fixing, had two entire train lines closed because of downed wires and buses weren't running some routes because the drivers had to take federally mandated rests after spending so many extra hours on the roads on Thursday.
When questioned by reporters on Friday, Murphy doubled down on his statements about the weather forecast.
"I'm not going to let the forecasters off the hook," Murphy reiterated.