Governor Chris Christie today declared a state of emergency for Ocean County, Atlantic County and Cape May County as a result of severe weather conditions expected later today and throughout the Labor Day weekend. The National Weather Service is forecasting Tropical Storm Hermine will impact the entire New Jersey shoreline, and Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May Counties in particular, beginning on September 3, 2016, bringing tropical storm force winds, very heavy and sustained rain, as well as moderate to major coastal flooding with heavy surf and beach erosion. These severe weather conditions may cause power outages and impede transportation and the flow of traffic in New Jersey, thereby make it difficult or impossible for residents to obtain the necessities of life, as well as essential services such as police, fire, and first aid.
“The impending weather conditions constitute an imminent hazard, which threatens and presently endangers the health, safety, and resources of the residents of Ocean County, Atlantic County and Cape May County,” said Governor Christie. “This situation may become too large in scope to be handled by the normal county and municipal operating services in Ocean County, Atlantic County and Cape May County, and this situation may spread to other parts of the State. So as a result, in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of New Jersey, I’ve signed an Executive Order declaring a State Of Emergency in Ocean County, Atlantic County, and Cape May County effective immediately, giving emergency management personnel the tools they need to ensure a speedy and orderly response.”
The declaration activates elements of the State Emergency Operations Plan, broadening powers of the New Jersey State Police, including traffic control, and enabling the National Guard to assist with rescue or cleanup operations if necessary.
As provided by the declaration, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management will be authorized to mobilize and deploy resources beginning immediately to respond to the storm conditions, including resources of the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and New Jersey Department of Transportation, in coordination with county and municipal emergency management officials in impacted areas throughout the state.
In addition, the following preemptive steps to mobilize government in preparation for the storm are being taken:
New Jersey Office of Emergency Management:
o The New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center (NJ ROIC) has elevated to a Level II operational status as of 6:00 a.m. this morning to monitor and respond to Tropical Storm Hermine as needed. The NJ Office of Emergency Management (NJ OEM), will be staffing the NJ State Emergency Operations Center (NJ SEOC) in support of this storm.
o Potential county shelter locations are listed below, but are not open at this time. Residents and visitors are encouraged to follow updates from their local governments on the potential need for evacuation and contact their local police department or emergency management office to determine if and when shelter locations may open in their towns.
Cape May County
· Woodbine Developmental Center 1175 Dehirsch Avenue. Woodbine NJ
· Upper Township Middle School 525 Perry Rd, Woodbine, NJ 08270
· Atlantic City Convention Center 1 Convention Blvd, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
· Southern Regional High School, 90 Cedar Bridge Rd. in Stafford Twp.
· Pinelands Regional High School, 590 Nugentown Rd. in Little Egg Harbor Twp.
o Currently, NJOEM is monitoring the weather situation with the main focus on preparedness.
· New Jersey Department of Transportation:
o DOT is prepared and ready to do what is necessary to keep New Jersey roads open and safe.
o DOT crews have checked and cleared inlets over the past few days.
o Tree cutting equipment, generators and light towers are ready for use if it becomes necessary.
· New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection:
o Island Beach State Park will close at 8 pm Saturday September 3, 2016. The park will remain closed Sunday and Monday September 4 and 5, due to expected deteriorating weather conditions, high winds, rough surf and forecasted flooding conditions.
o Allaire State Park will close the campground at 4pm, Sunday, September 4, 2016 thru 12pm Tuesday, September 6, 2016.
· New Jersey Board of Public Utilities:
o BPU has been in active discussion with power companies and public utility leadership to ensure that their companies are preparing for the storm and to make sure BPU is kept abreast of critical issues.
· NJ TRANSIT:
o NJ TRANSIT’s top priority is passenger safety of the traveling public. Anyone planning to travel during the storm is urged to allow extra time and be extremely careful traveling in and around stations, on platforms and on-board trains, buses, light rail vehicles and Access Link vehicles.
o NJ TRANSIT bus and light rail operations are unaffected at this time but service may be suspended depending on road conditions in certain locations.
o All operating and administrative divisions have additional staff on call and ready to respond to the command center and any field locations as necessary.