With the exception of what Township Manager Victor Canning called “pockets” throughout town, more residences in Belleville have seen their power restored over the past 24 hours.
And, according to PSE&G, although only 83 percent of residents in Essex, Bergen and Passaic counties can currently turn their lights on, the state public utility hopes to have elecriticity back for "at least 95 percent" by Thursday.
Meanwhile, more of the fallen trees, tree limbs and power lines from this past weekend's historic Nor'easter have been cleared out of harm's way and more of the township's roads have been opened.
However, Canning warned that just because the Belleville Department of Public Works has been working around the clock since Saturday does not mean that the town has been restored to anything quite resembling its pre-storm conditions.
“We're getting a handle on it,” Canning said.
“The thing that I would emphasize is because there are limbs that are broken that are hanging, there may be wires that are compromised,” Canning continued. “If (residents) are walking throughout the township, they need to be very aware of their surroundings. At least for the next week.”
Although police and DPW workers have diffused fallen power lines, the township is still working to clear fallen branches and limbs, as well as taking down tree appendages that could pose potential danger. While children trick-or-treated Halloween evening on Continental Avenue, DPW workers were sawing off branches partially hanging off trees on nearby Celia Court.
In addition to a crew of what Canning called “less than 50 DPW workers” – many of which have worked virtually non-stop since Saturday; attempts to reach DPW Director Jerry Imperato were unsuccessful as his voicemail has been full the past two days – the township brought in private companies to assist with trimming taller trees the township cannot reach.
“It's a planned-out attack of who's doing what and where,” Canning said.
Between Hurricane Irene in August and an unprecedented pre-Halloween snowstorm, Canning and the township are currently crunching numbers to account for a rare year where two weather-related emergencies occurred.
“I'm going to be very, very optimistic and hope we have beautiful weather the rest of the year,” Canning said. “But the way things are going, how could you bet on that?”