UPDATE: Some Monmouth And Ocean Residents Will Be Evacuated As Hurricane Irene Looms
Latest forecast track shifts Hurricane Irene closer to the coast
More storm coverage throughout the day and through Sunday. Please check back often.
Monmouth and Ocean County residents face both voluntary and mandatory evacuations as Hurricane Irene appears ready to strike the Jersey Shore by Sunday.
Long Beach Island residents will be forced to leave by Friday morning, and officials from Belmar, Berkeley and Toms River are asking residents who live near the shoreline to leave voluntarily.
Governor Christie has declared a state of emergency that will mobilize the National Guard to address the hurricane preparedness, and he also strongly encouraged everyone to stay away from the Jersey Shore this weekend.
The forecast track of Hurricane Irene will cause significant impacts regardless of its exact course, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center warned in an update released Thursday.
An air mass coming across North America will not be enough to steer Irene clear from the eastern seaboard, and the storm will still be packing hurricane-force winds when it is in the vicinity of New Jersey.
"I'd rather be wrong here," said meteorologist Steve DiMartino of NYNJPAweather.com, who said he agrees with the forecast track put out by the hurricane center.
"Saturday night into Sunday is not going to be very pretty in New Jersey," DiMartino said, predicting the storm would cause a 3 to 5 foot storm in Ocean and Monmouth counties, and pack potential wind speeds of 75 to 100 m.p.h. on the coast. Inland counties will see winds between 50 and 70 m.p.h., he said.
But the reality is that forecasters will have to "now-cast" the storm surge and wind speeds, DiMartino said, explaining that much of that specific information will vary depending on how much the storm will weaken once it initially hits North Carolina, its first point of impact. The storm could weaken rapidly, he said, or actually gain some strength when it re-emerges into the Atlantic Ocean and begins to travel up the coast.
One thing is for sure, DiMartino said: this storm may be one for the record books.
"I have not seen this type of situation developing, except in the record books when I was in college," he said.
The following are suggested actions to be taken prior to arrival of a storm:
- Check battery-powered equipment such as radios and flashlights. Buy extra batteries.
- Secure outdoor objects that might become caught in the wind.
- Keep your car fueled should evacuation be necessary.
- Be aware of where evacuation routes are located.
- Stock up on non-perishable food items and water.
- Stay tuned to a local radio or television station for the latest National Weather Service advisories as well as instructions from local officials.
- Be familiar with the telephone number of your local Office of Emergency Management. The number for the Ocean County OEM is 732-341-3451.
Residents are urged not to enter flooded roadways.
Local emergency management officials have also provided a number of recommendations for emergency supply kits. The list of items to include is as follows:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers
Additional items to consider adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler's checks and change
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children,
Stay tuned today as Patch brings you regular updates as well as important emergency information.