A county-by-county roundup of Hurricane Sandy-related news around the state including evacuations, road closures, flooding, etc. Watch video
Here's a look at some of the evacuations, road closures and other storm-related news being reported throughout New Jersey as Hurricane Sandy draws near.
NOTE: This post will be updated continuously throughout the day. Keep checking back as news develops around the state.
• Casinos in Atlantic City shut down, as ordered by the state, and had to be emptied of all gamblers, partiers and hotel guests by 4 p.m. today. Few remained this afternoon as workers shooed away the stragglers.
But in a town that likes to play the odds and let it ride, there are those who won’t go. They say they’ve been through this before, dire predictions or not. Even some who had water on their street this morning, the result of the high tide, weren’t concerned.
Bergen Community College has cancelled all classes and activities for Monday. It is tentatively scheduled to reopen and resume classes on Tuesday at 7 a.m.
CAPE MAY COUNTY
• In Cape May, more than 300 U.S. Coast Guard recruits and staff boarded buses today to evacuate the Coast Guard training center, and more than 1,000 Coast Guardsmen and their families also evacuated.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents in the Barrier Island today and shelters throughout the county have been opened, said Lenora Boninfante, public information officer for Cape May County.
Boninfante said residents in Ocean City, Sea Isle City and Strathmere can go to the Upper Township Middle School, 525 Perry Road in the Petersburg section of Upper Township and to the Upper Township Elementary School, 50 Old Tuckahoe Road in Marmora, New Jersey. She said residents in Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, North Wildwood, West Wildwood, Cape May, West Cape May and Cape May Point will taken in at the Woodbine Developmental Center, 1175 DeHirsch Road, Woodbine, New Jersey.
The county also has an animal animal shelter at 409 Breakwater Road, Tomwar Building in the Cape May County Airport Complex.
• In anticipation of the punishment Hurricane Sandy is expected inflict, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has ordered mandatory evacuations for city dwellers in basement and first-floor units in several coastal areas in the city.
The affected developments and neighborhoods are Country Village, Port Liberte, Society Hill, and Downtown Jersey City east of Greene Street from Essex Street to Christopher Columbus Drive, and east of Washington Boulevard between Christopher Columbus Drive and 18th Street.
Healy made his announcement this afternoon at a press conference at the Fire Department headquarters on Summit Avenue.
• PATH train service and stations will be shut down at 12:01 a.m. Monday until further notice because of Hurricane Sandy, Port Authority officials have announced.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will begin shutting down New York City subway, commuter rail and bus service at 7 p.m. today.
• Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer has also ordered mandatory evacuations of some apartments.
• Hospitals have been gearing up with Hoboken University Medical Center evacuating patients to higher ground.
• As Hurricane Sandy approaches Hunterdon County, county emergency services coordinator Brayden Fahey warns of "damaging winds" that have been predicted by the National Weather Service. Between 8 a.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, winds of 35 to 45 mph are expected, with gusts of 60 to 75 mph on Monday and early Monday night.
Heavy rains can cause flash flooding along the creeks and the South Branch of the Raritan River. But flooding of the Delaware depends on what happens far upstream and it happens much later.
Along the Delaware, people in flood-prone areas are moving their belongings to higher ground. That includes the Stockton Fire Company's new rescue boat that it acquired last spring. It has been moved from the Mill Street firehouse up to a firefighter's home on Woolverton Road.
• Officials in Mercer County are also encouraging residents to stay put for the storm’s duration.
“We are not experiencing extreme temperatures as we saw in the days following Irene, where temperatures climbed into the 90s,” said County Executive Brian Hughes. “You will be safer by staying put, hunkering down and riding out the storm at home.”
The Joyce Kilmer School in Trenton and the Mercer Community College will both open as shelters if needed, but officials are stressing that loss of power is not a reason to leave home for a shelter.
The Highway Department and the Shade Tree Division are both standing by to begin repairs. Row boats have been given to local fire departments for evacuations in flooded areas.
• Middlesex County officials declared a state of emergency late this afternoon in its efforts to help the county's 25 municipalities deal with Hurricane Sandy.
"Declaring a state of emergency gives the county Office of Emergency Management the ability to implement emergency plans and protocols, allows us to limit travel within the county if necessary, enables us to implement protective measures, including evacuation orders, to ensure the safety of our residents and allows the county to make emergency purchases if resources are needed," said Freeholder Director Christopher Rafano.
Rafano said no travel limits or county evacuation orders had been put into place as of 5 p.m. today (Sunday).
"I urge all of our residents and business owners to complete your storm preparations today," he said. "Make sure you have plans if you are asked to evacuate and expect the possibility of being without power."
• Several towns in the county have already declared states of emergency including Old Bridge and South Brunswick. mandatory evacuations of trailer parks and certain neighborhoods have been ordered in Carteret and Old Bridge officials are asking residents in the flood-prone areas in Lawrence Harbor and south Old Bridge to evacuate.
&bull The county has opened two shelters for residents who cannot go to local shelters--one at the Carl; Sandburg Middle School on Route 516, just off Route 9 north, in Old Bridge and at the Woodbridge Community Center 600 Main Street in Woodbridge. The Old Bridge shelter is open now but the Woodbridge shelter will open at 10 p.m. tonight (Sunday).
• In Carteret, officials will open shelters in the Carteret Middle School on Carteret Avenue and the Nathan Hale School on Haywood and Roosevelt Avenues at 6 a.m. tomorrow (Monday).
• In East Brunswick, the shelter opens at 8 p.m. tonight at the reception center of the Trinity Baptist Church on Cranbury Road.
&bull In Edison, the Edison Senior Center, 2963 Woodbridge Avenue, will open as a shelter at 8 p.m. tonight.
• In Milltown, the reception centers at the firehouses on Cottage Avenue and South Main Street will open tonight.
• Monroe Township will open a shelter at the high school, but will communicate the opening time via reverse 911.
• In Sayreville, the borough will open a shelter at the senior citizens center at 425 Main Street at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Monday).
• The South Brunswick Office of Emergency Management is requesting all residents refrain from non-essential travel starting at 12:01am Monday morning. “As the conditions continue to deteriorate it is important to keep the roadways clear for emergency personnel,” said OEM Director Chief Raymond Hayducka.
In addition OEM officials are reminding residents that there are no evacuations or shelters in South Brunswick at this time.
• Middlesex County will be activating its Office of Emergency management center tonight at 10 p.m. and it will be staffed 24 hours throughout the storm, according to Freehold H. James Polos, who chairs the committee of law and public safety.
Polos said the county has been working with local Office of Emergency Management officials to supply what they need.
"We have staged equipment they requested," he said.
He said the county has not declared a state of emergency independently of the state and has not yet made a decision on whether to close all county offices tomorrow.
• New Brunswick has issued a statement saying that Lord Stirling School will be opening as a shelter during the storm for anyone who needs one. No time was given as to when the school on George Street will open.
• As a significant storm surge on coastal areas along the Raritan Bay is expected to begin this evening, Middletown Township has issued a mandatory evacuation from Route 36 to the coast, officials posted on their website today.
The order extends from the Keansburg border to the Atlantic Highlands border, from Route 36 to the bay, the statement read. Residents are expected to leave by 9 p.m. by the latest.
Those needing shelter are told to go the staging area at Croydon Hall on 900 Leonardville Road, where people will be transported to a shelter. Further updates will be posted on www.middletownnj.org.
• The Belmar mayor has declared an emergency for the borough, which includes a mandatory evacuation and closure of businesses by noon Monday.
• Tidal water from the Rumson River reached the streets of Sea Bright around 7 this morning.
"Every time there's high tide and a full moon we get flooding," said Jim Koniuk, 61, who with his friend, Linnea Lawson, was enjoying a late lunch at Mad Hatter bar in Sea Bright.
Sea Bright authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation at 4 p.m., but Koniuk had already made plans to leave town this morning.
• As many as 1,500 people will be sleeping on cots and sharing bathroom facilities at Monmouth University's MAC Center in West Long Branch, said Lisa Rodgers of Long Branch, a volunteer who greeted people as they trickled into the sprawling sports complex. The gym was split into sleeping and eating sections; a training room was converted into an infirmary, she said.
"If someone gets hurt we can handle all their needs. We could even deliver a baby," Rodgers, an EMT, said. Ambulances were readily available to take anyone in serious need of medical care to a nearby hospital, she said.
• In Madison, garbage, recycling and yard waste have been suspended for Monday and Tuesday. The summer collection schedule will be in place just for this Wednesday through Saturday, so each resident gets at least one pick up this week.
• In Parsippany, sandbags, sand and shovels are available to residents at the parking lot at the corner of Lake Shore Drive and Rockaway Boulevard in Lake Hiawatha, which is located across the street from the Lake Hiawatha Swim Club.
• In Morristown, parking garages will be open at 4 p.m. on Monday for residents to park their vehicles during the storm. Changes to the schedule may occur, pending changes in the storm. Parking updates will be available on the municipal website before 12 p.m. Monday.
• If rainfall is significant, Route 23 is expected to flood, according to municipal officials.
• Morris County officials are also targeting residents with special needs and taking other preventive measures, said Jeff Paul, director of the Morris County OEM.
“We’re doing a lot of preventative work at the moment, identifying residents that have special needs and those kind of things that might be able to be addressed up front rather than addressing it in the middle of the storm,” he said. “There’s been a lot of pre-planning and a lot of the lessons that we have learned from Irene we’ve put into practice for this event.”
Paul is encouraging residents with non-emergency calls to contact each municipality’s emergency operations center rather than calling 911.
“We will have flooding and water issues; we know that and we are preparing for that,” Paul said. “But we don’t want to have general non-emergent calls going to the 911 centers and the local police departments because it’s obviously going to be overburdened.”
Even with the water swallowing most of the beach, a few New Jerseyans could still be found on the Seaside Heights boardwalk Sunday night, catching a last glimpse of Hurricane Sandy.
While the boardwalk still had a crowd, the rest of Seaside Heights was a proverbial ghost town this evening. The roads were empty, lined with boarded up buildings and vacated houses. But the lone bridge into town remainED open, and state officials could not say if, or when, they would shut it down.
• In Salem County officials have asked for voluntary evacuations of residents living along the Delaware River as well as in flood-prone areas further inland, said Jeffrey Pompper, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management.
Pompper said sandbags have been distributed to municipalities and have identified elderly residents and those with special needs that may need assistance.
“Our concern at this point is what is going to happen with the storm,” he said “It’s not an ‘if’ its just what is going to happen.
“I think we are as prepared as we can possibly be at this point,” Pompper said. “Hopefully the residents have listened to the instructions and they have left those low lying flood-prone areas.”
It is important that residents listen to directions during the storm, particularly if a ban on travel is put into place.
“We can’t have the public driving through standing water and things like that,” Pompper said.
The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Salem County Community College, at 460 Hollywood Avenue in Carneys Point Township, at 6 p.m. Sunday.
• The three gates of Bound Brook's still-incomplete flood control system can be closed if the borough becomes deluged with water from Hurricane Sandy, Bound Brook Mayor Carey Pilato said today.
The flood control project, just part of a $650 million multi-county system by the Army Corps of Engineers, is largely credited by Bound Brook officials with saving the borough from catastrophic damages in Tropical Storm Irene last year.
Irene's floodwaters reached about 1 to 3 feet in Bound Brook, according to the borough.
Bound Brook, however, still saw some serious flooding largely because a gate over the rail tracks near the Talmage Avenue bridge had not been completed. What resulted was significant flooding of homes nearby — the worst reported in Bound Brook, according to borough officials.
The remaining gate has now been completed and is operational, Pilato said. The Bound Brook system in total is about "98 to 90 percent" complete, he said.
• A pet-friendly shelter has been opened at the Sussex County Community College and the county’s Bureau of Corrections has begun filling sandbags, said Captain George Kately, deputy coordinator of the OEM there.
But officials do not know exactly where to place those sandbags yet.
“We really can’t tell based on the path of the storm,” Kately said. “We have some areas that commonly do flood and last year’s hurricanes we had significant flooding in Stillwater Township as well as Branchville Borough.”
Kately is urging residents to stay indoors.
“We are going to have excessively high winds,” he said. “The biggest concern is debris and falling trees.”
• Cranford Police have announced a mandatory evacuation of the flood zone of Cranford.
The statements orders that residents must be out of the evacuation zone by noon on Monday.
Police advise that the Cranford Recreation Center on Walnut Avenue offers a shelter for those who have no alternative. The shelter will open at 4 p.m. today.
Union County officials announced a number of closings because of the storm. Union County Superior Court and Vicinage will be closed Monday, and Union County Paratransit Services are canceled for Monday and Tuesday.
Public ice skating at the Warinanco Skating Center was canceled Sunday evening, and the center will remain closed Monday for the duration of the storm.
Trailside Nature & Science Center and Watchung Stables will be closed Monday and remain closed for the duration of Hurricane Sandy. Watchung Stable boarders are encouraged to stay home. Staff will care for all school & boarder horses throughout the storm. Haunted Hayrides also were canceled on Sunday.
All Union County Golf Properties, Galloping Hill, The Learning Center and Ash Brook will be closed Monday and Tuesday.
Sebastian D’Elia, director of communications for Union County, said water levels had been lowered at several lakes in its parks including Nomahegan Lake in Cranford, Milton Lake in Rahway, Clark Reservoir and Bloodgoods and Jackson ponds also in Clark.
Star-Ledger staff writers Tomas Dinges, Sue Epstein, Tom Haydon, Ryan Hutchins, Eugene Paik, Eric Sagara and MaryAnn Spoto contributed to this report. Reporters from the Hunterdon County Democrat, the Independent Press, the Jersey Journal and NJ.com also contributed.