Residents throughout New Jersey are preparing for Hurricane Sandy. The latest forecast predicts life-threatening storm surge flooding for the Mid-Atlantic region and heavy winds. Some are evacuating and others are stocking up on supplies. Officials warn the storm could bring an unprecedented amount of flooding and cause power outages to many areas.
Gov. Chris Christie has declared a State of Emergency for New Jersey and ordered the evacuation of some areas.
Atlantic City will begin evacuations at noon Sunday. Gaming activities will cease at 3 p.m. Sunday and casino and hotel properties will close at 4 p.m.
“Division of Gaming Enforcement staff have been in constant dialogue with the casinos to ensure an orderly shutdown of gaming operations on Sunday,” said Christie in a statement. “They have also assured me that the necessary security, surveillance, maintenance operations and personnel are in place to secure the properties gaming equipment and assets.”
Christie announced mandatory evacuations of the Barrier Islands and Sea Bright by 4 p.m. and Sandy Hook is expected to see record amounts of flooding.
Those who live on the Barrier Islands began evacuating Saturday ahead of the storm.
The borough of Manasquan has also issued a mandatory evacuation order saying residents must be gone by 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Route 72 bridge to Long Beach Island will be closed to traffic starting at 4 p.m. Sunday. Point Pleasant Beach has also ordered evacuations for residents east of the NJ Transit railroad tracks by 4 p.m. Sunday.
Christie is expected to meet with officials throughout Sunday about Hurricane Sandy to ensure officials and residents are prepared for the storm.
The governor also announced that NJ Transit will cross honor tickets starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday through 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Tolls are suspended on the on the northbound Garden State Parkway from Cape May to the Driscoll Bridge and the full length of the westbound Atlantic City Expressway to help residents travel more quickly away from where the worst of the storm is expected to hit. The suspension began at 6 a.m. Sunday. Residents can learn more about the state’s travel conditions by visiting www.511nj.org.
The Red Cross is also preparing for the storm in New Jersey by getting shelters ready and keeping in contact with government officials.
PSE&G estimates that 500,000 to 1 million customers may lose power during Hurricane Sandy. The utility company says crews will be ready to respond as soon as heavy winds subside. Utility workers and contractors from various states not affected by the storm and Quebec, Canada are expected to arrive Sunday and be available to help restore power.
Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) says customers should be prepared for power outages lasting seven to 10 days because of Hurricane Sandy. The utility says hundreds of FirstEnergy personnel will be on hand to help with power restoration, along with nearly 1,000 tree contractors to aid with removal of fallen trees.
Some schools in the southern portion of the state have already announced closings for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Saturday was a day of preparation for many, with New Jerseyans stocking up on food, gas, batteries and flashlights. Some left their homes to go to an area where the storm likely won’t hit as hard while others prepared to be indoors for the duration of the storm.
While the storm is expected to be worse in the southern part of New Jersey, North Jersey residents may also experience severe flooding and power outages. Officials there also encourage residents to be prepared.
NJTV will kick off its storm coverage on Sunday, October 28 with live updates and a special live edition of NJ Today with Mike Schneider at 6pm ET (check local listings).
A joint broadcast by NJTV and MetroFocus on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 9:30 p.m. will assess the effect of the storm on the Tri-State area. Tune in to NJTV or THIRTEEN. See the broadcast at 10:30 p.m. on WLIW.