UPDATE: Bay Head and Mantoloking Advising Voluntary Evacuations
Mantoloking police department urging residents to leave ahead of Sandy
Bay Head and Mantoloking police departments are advising voluntary evacuations in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy.
"As a part of our storm preparations, all Bay Head residents are asked to secure their property of any lawn furniture and outside decorations, boats, grills, and all construction materials. Ocean County can expect, with Hurricane Sandy, heavy winds, heavy rain, flooding, and power outages. Evacuations are voluntary at this time."
Mantoloking is advising its residents to evacuate voluntarily, anticipating that it's only a matter of time before a mandatory order is issued.
On the Mantoloking Police Facebook page, the advisory says:
"At this time the Borough of Mantoloking, Office of Emergency Management, and the Police Department are issuing a voluntary evacuation order.
"We strongly recommend that you consider shutting off the utilities services, i.e. water, gas and electric, to your home prior to your departure. In the event you are unable to safely shut off your utilities, please make arrangements with your caretakers or family members to do so."
The town is also using its website and reverse 911 system to alert residents to the advisory.
So far, most other towns are waiting to see which track Sandy takes before considering a voluntary or mandatory evacuation.
Lt. John Barcus said the police department issued the advisory at about 12:30 p.m. Friday, deciding not to wait because of the many low-lying areas that are prone to flooding even without severe weather events.
"We have areas where flooding is an issue just with a full moon and high tide, even without a storm like this coming through," Barcus said. "A storm just makes it worse.
"We're fortunate because here in Mantoloking, most people have another home to go to," he said. "So we would rather have them go there now, than wait until there's a mass exodus out of town. We don't want residents to be unprepared in case of the worst case scenario."
He said he expects Ocean County and/or the state to issue mandatory evacuations at some point, especially if they feel the storm will significantly impact the Jersey Shore region.
The 2010 Census showed that there are 299 full-time, year-round residents in the seaside town.
Cape May County appears to be one of the only others part of the Jersey Shore that has also issued any evacuation advisory so far. Cape has advised that evacuations are voluntary today and Saturday and mandatory on Sunday for barrier island residents.