An early December snowstorm coated South Jersey on Sunday afternoon, making travel treacherous and causing several minor vehicle accidents as cars collided on slick roads. An estimated 40 accidents were reported on the Garden State Parkway from Cape May to milemarker 89 in Ocean County, said Sgt. Brian Brennan of the State Police at the Bass River barracks.

State Police Sgt. Frank Restuccio reported more than 10 accidents — mostly involving single cars — on the Atlantic City Expressway. There were several more cases of vehicles that slid off the road and had to be towed, he said.

Similar reports of fender benders and cars skidding off roads surfaced throughout the region as heavy snow fell before turning to sleet and rain.

The National Weather Service said there were snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties in a winter weather advisory that remained in effect through Sunday night.

Freezing temperatures were expected to rise throughout the night, with warmer weather and rain forecast for today.

Al Cope, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, said a narrow band of snow that came across northern Maryland and Delaware hit southern New Jersey.

The worst of it skirted Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties and pelted harder a northern area including Gloucester, Camden and Burlington counties, where there were reports of 10 inches of snow in some places, Cope said.

“At some places, snowfall was coming in at 2 to 3 inches per hour. Get a few hours of that and, presto, you have almost a foot,” he said.

Despite the burst of snow, this storm was contained to a relatively narrow area, he said.

“It wasn’t as widespread as a northeaster that blankets the whole area,” he said.

Still, the snow caused plenty of headaches for drivers in the region.

State Police in Woodbine reported three weather-related accidents, all minor, in the area that covers Upper Township and Woodbine in Cape May County.

Local businesses that stayed open during the heaviest portions of the snowfall Sunday afternoon were noticing a significant decline in foot traffic as motorists avoided the roads.

Helen Tran, owner of Future Nails in Egg Harbor Township, said her business, which is open seven days a week, had only two customers by late Sunday afternoon, and she did not know whether to expect more.

“We have no idea, but we’re still open,” said Tran, who lives above the business.

Pat Tkacz, owner of Fires Barbecue and Burgers in Egg Harbor Township, estimated he had seen about 10 percent of the customers he would see on a traditional Sunday.

“I’ll stay open my regular hours and see what happens,” he said.

Rain was expected to continue with temperatures rising to around 46 degrees by 4 a.m. today.

The weather service forecast showed a band of snow developing over parts of the Middle Mississippi/Ohio Valleys into the Mid-Atlantic and moving northward into the Lower Great Lakes to New England by this morning.

The snow will then be forced out by a band of freezing rain/sleet that will also  move northward from the Tennessee Valley/Southern Mid-Atlantic into the Northern Appalachians/Southern New England also by this morning.

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