POWER OUTAGES LINGER

Plenty of homes and businesses in our area remain without electrical power this frozen morning.

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Here’s a 9a update from the Asbury Park Press:

Thousands of Monmouth County residents are still without power this morning, and some area roads remain closed because of downed wires.

Around 8:30 a.m., an estimated 2,001 to 5,000 JCP&L customers in Atlantic Highlands, Fair Haven, Farmingdale, Howell and Tinton Falls remained without power, according to that company’s Web site.

Another estimated 501 to 2,000 customers in Colts Neck, Eatontown, Freehold, Highlands, Little Silver, Red Bank, Rumson, Jackson and Shrewsbury were also without power.

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IT’S RAINING BRANCHES AND WIRES

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Yeah, it’s a real mess out there. Dangerous, too.

Tree branches are falling under the weight of wet ice, often taking wires with them. We saw two downed wires in Rumson that the authorities hadn’t yet gotten to in the space of a few blocks at midmorning.

Nearly every street we traveled on a short spin through Red Bank, Fair Haven and Rumson had branches down.

Oh, and the roads are a mess with thick slush. Street parking means navigating flooded gutters.

It may get more treacherous tonight.

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ICE IS NICE, BUT LOOK OUT

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The Navesink River was bustling with ice-starved skaters, walkers and racers Saturday, raising concern that too many people may be assuming that the entire surface is solid when it isn’t.

“There’s a lot of places that are unsafe,” said racer Jim Hadley, of Neptune, during a lunch break at the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club. “Our safety guy marks all the holes he can find with orange cones, but there’s certainly places that aren’t safe” that might have been overlooked, he said.

“It’s safe for people who know what they’re doing,” says another clubber. “But we’re now getting people with baby strollers out there.”

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NAVESINK ICE: ‘CAN’T GUARANTEE IT’

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Skaters, ice boaters, ice yachters and those, (like us) who’ve simply yearned to walk on the great Navesink River: here’s the latest from the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club ice conditions iceline, as of about 5:50p Thursday.

Part of the river was walked today, and what was found is four- to five inches of ice on most of it [says an unidentified iceman]. The holes that didn’t freeze until Tueday night are maybe three inches. The surface was fairly smooth but SOFT. Again, with the high sun this late in the season, the surface was soft and the last frozen holes were maybe three inches and were soft.

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ICE YACHTERS HOPE FOR HISTORY & ICE

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that the home of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club is close to winning state designation as an historic structure.

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The building is in Red Bank on the Navesink River (known as the North Shrewsbury until the early decades of the 20th century), a body of water that this week happens to be nearing sailability—a rare condition in recent years.

The ice yachters hope that the recent Arctic weather blast lasts long enough to give them their first chance to sail locally since 2003, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures that, in combination with wind-chill, could give the ice boaters what they’re hoping for.

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SEASTREAK ICE UPDATE

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Updating the item below…

SeaStreak has now cancelled ALL boats to and from Highlands.

From the carrier’s latest email blast:

Due to ice conditions SeaStreak will be making the following changes today’s schedule:

All service to and from Highlands will be cancelled. SeaStreak will be providing
shuttle bus service from Atlantic Highlands to bring you to your cars at Conners
and the Sandy Hook Bay Marina.

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WHITE BLANKET

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Click on the image above for larger view. If it exceeds the size of your screen, try saving it to your desktop and then opening it.

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THE SEA WAS ANGRY THAT DAY, MY FRIEND

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Gone are the days when a plunge into the ocean at the start of a new year was the province of a few wingnuts bent on proving their iconoclastic chops to a conformist world.

No more. Now, it seems, everyone’s doing it.

Yes, it was unseasonably warm Monday, as it has been in recent weeks. Still, that ocean is damn cold. And there was an intermittent rain, which meant there was no guarantee that the deep chill of a dip in the briny would be offset by the warm, dry, snuggly embrace of your favorite pullover.

So how to explain that at least 560 men, women and children registered for the annual Sons of Ireland charity plunge at Donovan’s Reef on Monday?

FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY.

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COME ON IN, THE WATER’S NUMBING.

As in the past, the fourth annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge organized by the Sons of Ireland will raise money for a couple of worthy causes.

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The beneficiaries of this year’s Sea Bright dip are Clean Ocean Action and Challenged Youth Sports, a Lincroft organization that builds parks for kids with disabilities.

But let’s not overlook the very solid, selfish reasons to jump into the Atlantic Ocean on the first day of the year, beginning with the fact that it’s a little insane. If you’re not willing to do something crazy/bold on a day that’s all about fresh starts, when will you, pilgrim? And what’s a better way to prove your commitment to change than to thrust oneself into churning, steel-cold saltwater?

Plus, the experience leaves you with a hard-to-top answer to the workplace question, ‘What did you do this weekend?’

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ERNESTO BLOWS

It was an inescapably soggy scene as tropical depression Ernesto inundated the region Saturday afternoon.

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Please click on the image to enlarge.

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PET RESCUE PLANS NOW LAW

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Disaster planners in New Jersey will have to come up with strategies for saving pets in an emergency under a law signed by Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday.

The law was inspired by numerous reports of pet owners forced by circumstance to abandon their animals during Hurricane Katrina last year.

According to the Star-Ledger (lower portion of story), emergency management offices at the state, county and local levels are now required to make the rescue and safeguarding of pets a priority in an emergency.

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WEATHER UPDATE

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It’s real hot.

It may rain later. After that, it’ll still be real hot. Just less so.

This has been your redbankgreen weather digest…

WEATHER ALERT

The National Weather Service has issued a severe weather alert for much of southern and central New Jersey, including southwestern Monmouth County.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for the region until 9p.

DASHBOARD CUISINE

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It took five-plus hours, and the end result was more shriveled than shirred. But yesterday was hot enough to cook an egg on a dashboard, as redbankgreen‘s adventurous crew proved in a Saturn station wagon.

Coming soon: August bacon.