UPDATE: Point Boro Urges Evacuations from Flood-prone Areas
Alcohol sales ban and curfew to go into effect
Point Borough public schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday and the Borough High School gymnasium will be a shelter, said Schools Superintendent Vincent Smith at a Sunday morning meeting at Borough Hall.
Automated phone calls started going out to Borough public school parents around noon.
Anyone going to the high school shelter should use the Pulaski Drive entrance. The high school has a generator.
Also, Borough officials at the meeting agreed that alcohol sales at bars, restaurants and liquor stores will be banned from 10 p.m. tonight (Sunday) until 7 a.m Wednesday.
In addition, there will be a curfew from 10 p.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday. After that, the curfew will be in effect from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, said Mayor William Schroeder.
While there is no mandatory evacuation in Point Borough today, officials are urging residents in flood prone or low-lying areas to evacuate as soon as possible.
A mandatory evacuation order may go into effect for south of Bridge Avenue by 4 p.m. Monday, so any of the residents south of Bridge should think about leaving sooner than that, especially if they are flood-prone, Schroeder said.
Schroeder added that another reason to evacuate is the high probability of power outages. JCP&L officials have said there may be no power for 7 to 10 days.
Officials are meeting again tomorrow morning and would consider changing or extending the current status of evacuations, alcohol sales or the curfew if forecasts about Sandy warrant any changes, Schroeder said.
It will be determined later, depending on the severity of Hurricane Sandy, if the district needs to close schools after Tuesday, Smith said.
Smith, Schools Business Administrator Steven Corso, Schroeder and a dozen other school, Point Borough and Point Beach officials met Sunday morning at Borough Hall to discuss a wide array of issues regarding the impact of Hurricane Sandy.
Officials emphasized that evacuees should try to find a relative or friend to stay with in regions that are "on higher ground," rather than stay in a shelter. Anyone going to the high school shelter needs to bring their own food, water and bedding, officials said.
Pets in cages will be accommodated at the Borough Public Works building on Albert Clifton Avenue.
Point Beach public schools and St. Peter's Catholic School in Point Beach had already announced they would close Monday and Tuesday.
Regarding trash collection, Monday will be a normal schedule; there will be no collection on Tuesday but those pick-ups will be done Wednesday, as conditions allow. Any further changes to the schedule will be announced and posted on Patch.
Borough Police Chief Larry Williams is urging the public to not call the police department unless it is an emergency or if a resident is concerned they won't be able to evacuate, such as someone who is elderly, has a health problem or does not have a car.
But, right now, too many people are calling police, who urgently need to keep phone lines clear for true emergencies, Williams said.
Williams said his message to the public is: "Don't believe rumors. If there's news, it will be on Patch or other media. But please don't believe rumors and please do not call the police unless there is a true emergency."
Williams said one problem is that apparently a number of Point Borough residents are, for some reason, registered to receive Point Beach's reverse 911 system calls. So they got Point Beach's call about the mandatory evacuationthat goes into effect today for residents east of the NJ Transit train tracks.
Then they wondered if they were subject to that order and were calling Borough police about it.
"I don't know why Borough residents are getting those Beach calls, it's something you have to sign up for," Williams said.
Andy Welsh of the Point Boro First Aid Squad said his volunteers are ready to work, but that their ambulances are not able to drive around in winds stronger than 50 mph because they are made of aluminum and can tip in strong winds. Sandy is expected to be swirling in 80 mph winds, according to current forecasts.
Consequently, Welsh said, officials are hoping that any flood-prone or other vulnerable residents will evacuate because the first aid squad will have fewer resources to respond to calls. They may have to resort to using pick-up trucks or sending in fire department rigs, but those are limited in number and may be occupied on other calls, he noted.
William Dikun, Borough Emergency Management Director, said he is hoping residents in low-lying areas, such as Sunshine Harbor and Bay Head Shores, evacuate because those areas have been prone to flooding. He said there have been a few instances in the past where residents did not evacuate, got stranded and had to be rescued.
Other officials at the meeting were Councilmen Robert Sabosik and Chris Leitner; Borough Fire Chief Daniel Mulligan, who is also the Ocean County Fire Marshal; Robert Forsyth, Borough Superintendent of Public Works; Point Beach detectives Clint Daniel and Pat Petruzziello and Andy Welsh of the Point Boro First Aid Squad.
At Forsyth's suggestion, Williams said that if flooding starts getting bad on Beaver Dam Road, like it did with last year's Irene, he will ask Ocean County to close the bridge there and post signs on Princeton Avenue so motorists know to not turn onto Beaver Dam.
Forsyth said, "Last year, that end of Beaver Dam was impassable."
There is currently no plan to close any lanes of the bridges on Route 88, Bridge Avenue or Route 35.
Some residents have asked if the Borough will officially cancel trick or treating on Halloween and announce that it will be held on another day. Williams said it's too early to make that decision.
Borough officials are meeting at 9 a.m. Monday at Borough Hall to again discuss the weather forecasts and plans.
This story will be updated significantly.