Point Boro Asks for Voluntary Evacuations
Christie declares statewide weather state of emergency
Point Borough is asking residents to evacuate on a voluntary basis, said Mayor William Schroeder on Saturday morning, just as he was finishing a meeting with other Borough officials.
While emphasizing that the direction and intensity of Hurricane Sandy is "only a prediction," at the moment, it is a prediction that warrants concern, Schroeder said.
"We're in the line of fire, so we're asking people to take precautions now," Schroeder said. He said that Borough Office of Emergency Management Director William Dikun and Police Chief Larry Williams "have decided to invoke a voluntary evacuation order at this time."
He said updates will be announced as they are decided, as Borough and area officials continue to monitor the storm.
The Borough decision was made shortly before 10 a.m. About an hour later, around 11 a.m., Gov. Christie's office announced the governor is declaring a statewide weather state of emergency.
"Gov. Christie today declared a state of emergency throughout the state as a result of severe weather conditions anticipated from Hurricane Sandy," the statement says. "In addition to taking this preemptory step to mobilize government in preparation for the storm, Governor Christie urged New Jerseyans to be vigilant in monitoring conditions of the storm, its effect on their communities, and in making preparations for themselves and their families."
Schroeder alluded to the fact that the Borough has some home-bound, ill and elderly residents who may need some extra time and planning to evacuate. He also noted that those living on or near Barnegat Bay, creeks and lagoons will likely be the most affected.
"We think that if we notify them now of the situation, they'll have plenty of time to make a move," Schroeder said, just as he was finishing meeting at Borough Hall with Borough Council Members Robert Sabosik and Chris Leitner, Borough Emergency Management Coordinator William Dikun, Ocean County Fire Marshal Daniel Mulligan, who is also the Borough Fire Chief, the Point Boro First Aid Squad and Point Borough Superintendent of Schools Vincent Smith.
Dikun said later in the day, on a telephone interview, that the Borough is issuing the advisory with the hope that residents who have been flooded before, because they live in a flood zone or on or near a waterway, or residents who are ill, elderly, do not drive or have any other circumstances where an evacuation may require extra planning, will start planning now.
Schroeder said that, as per the current county recommendation, there are no shelters designated yet. So those evacuating should head north or west, to "higher ground," Schroeder said.
He said Borough officials are closely watching the weather forecasts and will be making plans and announcing the news as updates become available.
There have been many residents asking Patch if the Halloween parade will still be held at noon Sunday on Bridge Avenue, if the town intends to make any announcement soon about whether trick-or-treating will be canceled for Halloween on Wednesday, or whether the election on Nov. 6 will be affected if power is out that long.
Schroeder said, in response, that the Borough is not asking the Chamber of Commerce to cancel the parade, which is scheduled to be followed by a "finish line party" at Community Park afterwards.
"That's their call," he said.
Regarding Halloween and the election, Schroeder said it's way too early for the Borough to make a call on those.
"The storm is moving slowly right now, it really depends on exactly where it goes and how fast," Schroeder said. "But we will make that call when we get to it." He emphasized that Borough officials are watching Sandy closely and will make plans and additional announcements as they are warranted.
So far, there is no decision to close Borough public schools Monday or Tuesday. However, Borough and school officials are monitoring Sandy closely and will announce any updates if they are warranted.
Point Pleasant Beach Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Kyle Grace was also at the meeting in Point Borough. He said late Saturday morning that he and other Point Beach officials will meet at 5 p.m. today to discuss whether to issue any type of evacuation order.