New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy blamed “lousy” weather forecasts in response to criticisms of his administration’s handling of the chaos that ensued during Thursday’s sleet and snow.
“It came much stronger and hit us harder than any organization had forecast, and that is a fact,” Murphy said during a media conference Friday morning.
Murphy did say his administration “could have done better,” but seemed to lay most of the blame on weather forecasters. New Jersey and New York City got more snow than expected, but for days, weather forecasts projected plenty of snow covering the region.
“Part of it is the forecasts were lousy and I’m not going to let the forecasters off the hook,” the Democratic governor said. “This whole region got crushed.”
The northeastern U.S. got its first taste of wintry weather Thursday as heavier-than-expected snowfall ground traffic to a halt in the greater New York City area. Thousands lost power, buses were delayed and, by the evening, authorities had responded to more than 500 car accidents.
New Jersey transportation officials began salting roads early Thursday, but were prevented from plowing them by commuters leaving work early, Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said at the news conference, who apologized to commuters for the delays.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also claimed state officials were caught off guard by the snowstorm.
“I think the snowfall was higher in Jersey and New York City than they were anticipating and I think it came down faster,” the Democrat said, according to the North Jersey Record.
Meteorologists fired back at Murphy’s comments. NBC News broadcast meteorologist Bill Karins said state officials “should have been prepared anyways” for snowfall.
@govmurphy much of NJ was in 2-4” forecast range for a burst of heavy snow right before rush hour then sleet on top. State should have been prepared anyways. Most NJ ended in 4-8” range.
NYC went 1” forecast to 6”. That is different. https://t.co/WPNQVaE4aA
— Bill Karins (@BillKarins) November 16, 2018
News 12 meteorologist Mike Rizzo called Murphy’s blaming of weather forecasters “a very strawman argument.”
It’s a very strawman argument. We got it wrong – and that’s that. Now we learn and move forward. Fund numerical weather prediction better, and modelling will improve. What else are we supposed to do? Make magic? We try our best. 💯💯
— Mike Rizzo (@Meteor_Mike) November 16, 2018
Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also faced criticism for chaos in the streets as the snow came down Thursday, including from Democrats and liberal pundits.
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