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TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — The first snowfall of the season lingered Friday in the Northeast as thousands of exhausted commuters pointed their fingers at politicians and meteorologists for leaving them creeping along highways or stuck in mass transit hubs because of a storm that left seven dead as it moved through the Midwest and South.
Some students in West Orange, New Jersey, were forced to sleep at their schools after their buses turned back, while others were taken to a diner to eat because snow-covered roads were clogged with traffic Thursday.
“Students are safe in their schools with teachers and staff. They have eaten dinner and are preparing to get some rest,” a district alert said.
They were not alone in finding the ride home difficult. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tweeted it took him nearly six hours to travel a distance that normally would take 45 minutes.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who tweeted the storm was worse than forecast, held a briefing Friday about the storm.
“I think what you’re hearing is, this was a perfect storm to use a word that probably isn’t appropriate. It wasn’t forecasted to be the storm it was. It switched and came upon us very quickly,” said Murphy.
NJ Transit bus passengers were told to expect substantial delays and cancellations Friday because many drivers, who inched their vehicles in the snow and ice, worked past their normal schedules and federal law mandated a rest period for them.
The delays for buses caused a logjam of commuters Thursday, forcing officials to close the doors at New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The wintry weather caused a traffic nightmare on a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania, with numerous vehicles stuck for several hours from the Lehigh Valley to the New Jersey state line. Police sometimes drove on the opposite side of highway, honking their horns to wake up drivers who had fallen asleep.
About 105,000 homes and businesses were without power Friday in Pennsylvania, mostly in the western part of the state.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)