- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency in New Jersey Friday night as a major storm threatened to dump up to two feet of snow on parts of the state and cause flooding at the coast.

Christie held a briefing with his Cabinet Friday night and then a news conference, in which he told people to be smart and stay off roadways on Saturday.

Most of the state was facing a blizzard warning from Friday evening until Sunday that called for up to 24 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state.

New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson says back bay flooding and beach erosion at the shore could range from moderate to major, but he doesn’t expect storm surge levels in the northern part of the state to be as bad as they were during Superstorm Sandy.

He says they might become as bad as during Sandy at the southern shore, but counties there got less damage than their northern counterparts.

Christie said that there is concern over beach erosion, but that there’s nothing that shows the need for wide evacuations and flooding is expected to be limited to street flooding.

The snow could fall in some areas at the rate of 1 to 3 inches an hour on Saturday.

A blizzard warning covers a large swath of the state stretching from Hudson County in the New York City area southwest to Salem County, near Philadelphia. Meanwhile, a winter storm warning is in effect in Passaic, Bergen, Cumberland, Atlantic, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon and Cape May counties. Sussex County is under a watch.

A coastal flooding warning is in effect from Ocean County south.

There are concerns the snow will down trees and wires, causing power outages.

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