- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - The latest on the heavy snowfall expected to hit New Jersey. (all times local)

8:55 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie says that there are concerns over beach erosion, but that there’s nothing that shows the need for evacuations from flooding forecast in this weekend’s storm.

Christie declared a state of emergency Friday night in New Jersey as a major storm threatens to dump up to two feet of snow on parts of the state and flood the coast.

Christie says that the state expects street flooding from the storm.

Some coastal towns have put voluntary evacuations in place.

The weather service is calling for major and widespread coastal flooding in Cape May and Atlantic counties during Saturday’s high tides and Sunday morning’s high tide.

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8:40 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency in New Jersey as a major storm threatens to dump up to two feet of snow on parts of the state and flood the coast.

Christie returned to New Jersey from the Republican presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire.

States of emergency declarations allow the governor to make state resources immediately available to help rescue, evacuate or shelter residents. They could also help the state seek federal assistance if the scope of the event exceeds state resources.

Christie met with cabinet officials Friday evening and is briefing the media on storm preparations.

Christie said roadways had been pre-brined but suggested people stay home on Saturday.

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6:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service is calling the snowstorm moving into the Northeast “crippling and potentially historic.” It’s also increasing projected snow totals by several inches in some areas, including the Interstate 95 corridor.

The weather service is calling for major and widespread coastal flooding in Cape May County during the Saturday morning high tide.

Snowfall rates are expected to reach between one and three inches per hour.

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4:45 p.m.

United Airlines, the largest carrier at Newark Liberty International Airport, says it is shutting down operations at the airport because of the impending snowstorm.

The airline said in a statement it would be shutting down operations beginning Friday afternoon. The shutdown also includes operations at in Baltimore, New York LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington Dulles and Washington National.

The airline is urging travelers to check the status of their flights before going to the airport.

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2:20 p.m.

New Jersey’s state climatologist says storm surge levels in the northern part of the Jersey shore from this weekend’s coastal storm won’t be as bad as they were during Superstorm Sandy.

David Robinson said that storm surge levels in the northern half of the coast should be nowhere near those from the destructive October 2012 storm.

He says they might approach Sandy levels in the southern half of the shore, but those counties received less damage from Sandy than their northern counterparts.

But Robinson cautions that back bay flooding and beach erosion could range from moderate to major.

Bay flooding greatly contributed to the damage during Sandy. Bay tides tend to run several hours behind ocean tides.

Water levels are forecast to approach the top five ever recorded in Cape May and top 10 in Atlantic City.

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1:30 p.m.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie is returning to New Jersey from the presidential campaign trail and is preparing to meet with his cabinet and brief the press.

Christie will hold a storm briefing with his Cabinet members at 7:45 p.m. Friday in Newark before briefing the press at 8 p.m.

He will speak from the Newark Department of Transportation garage.

Christie said Friday he was canceling campaign events Friday and Saturday because of the weather, but New Jersey’s first lady Mary Pat would stay in New Hampshire.

Christie was scheduled to remain in New Hampshire through the weekend, when the bulk of the storm was expected to dump up to 18 inches of snow on parts of New Jersey.

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1 p.m.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie says he will return to New Jersey from the presidential campaign trail to deal with a potentially dangerous snowstorm that has much of the state under a blizzard warning.

Christie said Friday he was canceling campaign events Friday and Saturday because of the weather, but New Jersey’s first lady Mary Pat would stay in New Hampshire.

Christie was scheduled to remain in New Hampshire through the weekend, when the bulk of the storm was expected to dump up to 18 inches of snow on parts of New Jersey.

He has said he was closely monitoring the storm from New Hampshire, held Cabinet meetings by phone and that the state was making all necessary preparations.

Christie’s decision comes as he criticizes GOP rivals, like Sen. Marco Rubio, for missing keys votes in the Senate.

12:15 p.m.

The Delaware River Port Authority says it’s gearing up for the major snowstorm headed for New Jersey.

Crews and equipment are in place to keep the agency’s four bridges between New Jersey and Pennsylvania safe and passable. Its PATCO trains will continue to operate on a weekend schedule, but may have to slow speed. PATCO will operate on a snow schedule with 10-minute headways on Monday.

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry will suspend all crossings between New Jersey and Delaware on Saturday.

Service is expected to resume on Sunday.

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10:45 a.m.

The first flakes from a major snowstorm could start falling over southern New Jersey around 5 p.m. Friday.

However, forecasters say most commuters should be home before the storm kicks into high gear.

Travel could become difficult in parts because the heavier bands of snow could produce 1 to 3 inches an hour.

A blizzard warning is in effect from Friday evening until Sunday and calls for from 4 to 14 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state.

A winter storm warning covers Passaic, Bergen, Cumberland, Atlantic, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon and Cape May counties. Sussex County is under a watch.

NJ Transit is preparing to announce plans for its buses and trains.

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6:05 am.

Most of New Jersey is facing a blizzard warning as a major winter nor’easter approaches the state.

The warning is in effect from Friday evening until Sunday and calls for from 4 to 14 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state.

A winter storm warning covers Passaic, Bergen, Cumberland, Atlantic, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon and Cape May counties. Sussex County is under a watch.

Forecasters say the snow is expected to spread over the state from south to north primarily after Friday evening’s commute. It could fall in some areas at the rate of 1 to 3 inches an hour on Saturday.

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

Gov. Chris Christie will receive an updated briefing on Friday. Christie plans to continue campaigning for president in New Hampshire.

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