TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has declared a State of Emergency in anticipation of the severe winter storm that is expected to arrive in New Jersey beginning Thursday evening.

This authorizes the State Director of Emergency Management to activate and coordinate the preparation, response and recovery efforts for the storm.

Governor Christie also authorized the closing of state offices on Friday for all non-essential employees.

“The impending weather conditions over the next several days will produce a variety of dangerous travel conditions throughout the state,” said Governor Christie. “I’ve authorized state officials to take all necessary action in advance of the storm, and my Administration will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. I encourage all New Jerseyans to stay off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations.”

It seems for the most part drivers are heeding the Governor’s warning and staying off the roads tonight in Burlington County.

Large flakes started falling just as rush hour was coming to a close, beginning what is turning out to be a snowy night.

But life doesn’t stop because snow is coming down. Marlene Kovac packed up the dog to drive her son to hockey practice.

“It’s fun. The driving can be a little difficult. Fortunately I have a nice car that can accommodate the weather,” she said.

It wasn’t long before the accumulation caught some shoppers in Mount Laurel unprepared without a coat or scraper. While many were rushing home with milk and eggs, others won’t be getting much sleep at all.

The plows were out trying to keep up clearing lots and spreading salt.

In Moorestown, businesses on Main Street kept doors open as snow blanketed a quiet downtown by mid-evening, while kids are already preparing for a little fun.

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