Another storm appears headed for New Jersey

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HACKENSACK, N.J. — A coastal storm that some are describing as a nor’easter could hit New Jersey this coming week, bringing gusty winds, rain and possibly snow to weary residents still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

During a phone conference Friday afternoon, Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan assured local officials that the county’s Office of Emergency Management is aware of the potential storm and is taking steps to prepare for it.

“We’re already working on the next one,” she told a Northvale official who was concerned that plummeting temperatures could cause water pipes to burst in homes that have been without heat and electricity since Sandy barreled through the state Monday night.

The approaching weather system — which will not be nearly as powerful as Sandy — was expected to move into British Columbia on Friday night, work its way into the Plains states on Sunday and Monday and then head southeast, turning up the coast Tuesday night and Wednesday, said John Feerick, a senior meteorologist with Acuweather.

“The question is whether it hits New Jersey and the places that were hard hit by Sandy,” Feerick said. “It’s still too early to tell.”

The storm could pack winds of up to 40 mph and drop 2 to 3 inches of rain in the hardest-hit areas, Feerick said. There could be some snow along the northwestern edge of the storm, he added.

The storm could further delay efforts to restore power to those still in the dark.

“Our crews cannot go up in bucket trucks when wind speeds are 40 miles per hour or greater for safety reasons,” said Karen Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Public Service Electric & Gas Co., which has restored service to more than 1 million of the 1.7 million of its customers who lost power during the storm.

Tom Raheb of Westwood said the threat of a nor’easter early next week was making him nervous. “The lines at the liquor store are already as long as the lines at the gas station,” he said. “I don’t know what we’re gonna do.”

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