The first salvo of moisture from the winter storm named Helen has arrived in the form of freezing rain and sleet, coating the roads and making travel conditions hazardous.
According to Chester Township Police Lieutenant Tom Williver, the Chester Department of Public Works are ready to begin work on the roads.
"Drivers are urged to use caution when driving in slippery conditions," Williver said.
With an expected 2 and 4 inches of snow, sleet and freezing rain rolling through the area tonight as part of winter storm Helen, local officials are urging residents heed the winter weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service (NWS).
"Snow and sleet will overspread the region late this evening and become steadier after midnight. The snow and sleet will change to freezing rain Wednesday morning," the NWS said.
In Mendham Borough, the Department of Public Works has implemented an application called “Winter Wizard Anti-Icing Methods." According to officials, this method utilizes 40 to 50 gallons of a liquid melting agent with 500 lbs. dry rock salt. The process allows for the application of a pasty type material on the center line of a two lane road which then melts down with the precipitation, forming a liquid brine solution. This approach also helps prevent additional frost and snow from bonding to the roadway surface up to three days after the initial application.
Mendham Borough Department of Public Works Superintendent Ken O'Brien said that his crew was ready for the storm, but he wasn't expecting it to be anything major.
"I would guess two or three inches," O'Brien said.
Mendham Township Police Lieutenant Vito Abrusci said that their DPW was already hard at work preparing for the storm, but said that preparation should also be paired with common sense from motorists.
"Our DPW is diligently addressing slippery conditions throughout the Township," Abrusci said. "But residents should avoid driving unless totally necessary."
The storm, which began around 9 p.m. Tuesday is expected to last until 11 a.m. Wednesday. Northeast winds could reach up to 5 mph and temperatures are predicted to be in the low 30s.