Surviving the Coming 'Snow'easter' Without Power

Thousands of area residents are facing bitter cold winds without heating systems—here's what to do.

After more than a week without power, many area residents are now facing a fresh challenge: cold winds accompanied by possibly heavy rain or snow. For others only recently reconnected, the storm's expected high winds threaten their precarious supply.

The storm is expected to reach New Jersey Wednesday night into Thursday, driving temperatures below freezing overnight.

While many have been able to stay in their homes even without power, the challenges of doing so multiply as the temperature drops—here are some things you can do if you're planning to stay at home.

Bundle up

  • While you've probably gotten this far with sweaters and slippers, you'll want to add a hat and gloves tonight. Regardless of what other steps you take, the extra warmth will be helpful.
  • Adding clothing layers will also be helpful—sweaters, possibly even a jacket.

Minimize your living space 

  • The National AG Safety Board, which advises farm families in the Midwest who face more frequent and potentially deadlier outages, recommends choosing the smallest room your family can comfortably gather in and make it your home overnight. Local emergency volunteers have bene urging residents to hang blankets over doors and windows of the chosen room to help block the cold.
  • Some experts suggest using a small pop-up tent as your bedroom—most are made of materials that trap heat. 

Alternative heat sources

  • The first rule for alternative heat is to never use a heat source not designed for indoor heating—don't use a BBQ grill or other open flame device. If you use a kerosene heater, you'll need to have a window open to provide ventilation.
  • You can also get heating packs—like those used at football games—to help provide a little warmth, and some survival groups suggest using an outdoor fire (such as a BBQ grill) to warm rocks, bricks or water to bring into the house. If you plan to do this, better start early before the winds kick up.
  • Be sure to follow all safety rules for running a generator, if you have one.

Prevent freezing pipes

  • The cold temperatures pose a threat to some households' water pipes, which can freeze and burst if it gets cold enough. One step to take is to insulate any exposed pipes—foam insulation can be slipped over the pipes to help block out the cold (you'll also redice heat loss and save money when the power is back on).
  • If that's not possible, and you have pipes that are at risk, leave the tap running very slowly—the movement of the water will prevent any freezing.  

Best advice: Head to a shelter

There are several area shelters which can keep you warm through the storm, the safest and best alternative.

Green Brook

The township municipal building is ready to host a number of families. Cots are available (with a blanket, so bring a pillow); water and electicity are also available. 


Central School is open as a warming center, where residents can charge up electronics and get warm. Teachers and volunteers are organizing activities for kids, and parents can tap into the school's Wi-Fi to get Internet service.

The Warren Township Municipal Complex courtroom is open again as a warming center, with charging stations, Wi-Fi and information for residents.

Stonecrest Community Church is also hosting an Internet Cafe from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. where residents can charge phones and computers, connect to the Internet and stay warm. Coffee and tea are also offered. 


A warming center has been opened in the Firemen's Exempt Hall, on Mountain Boulevard from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until the power outages are repaired.

Brandywine Assisted Living is available as a warming center for area residents from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through the outage. Coffee and company available.

McAuley Hall at Mount Saint Mary Academy on Route 22 is also open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for residents.

The Red Cross has opened an overnight shelter at Bernardsville High School, at 25 Olcott Ave. in Bernardsville. Bring your own pillow and toiletries.

If you need a shelter for someone with medical needs, go to Middlesex County College, where special arrangements have been made for their care. You'll need to provide your physician's authorization.

Annie Boccio November 07, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Green Brook Town Hall has donated warm jackets, clothing, and blankets available.
Patricia Zohn November 07, 2012 at 07:46 PM
We only just got power back, so I can't say that our house is "guest ready". But I am not proud, and more than willing to share our space. It is warm and everything works. Is there a list anywhere of residents willing to host overnight stays?
Dede Bernstein Kotler November 08, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Is there a facility in the area where we can take showers?
Dede Bernstein Kotler November 08, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Oh and I have a 22 pound cockapoo, are pets allowed into any of the facilities? Thank you
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