More Than 40,000 Without Power In LBI, Manahawkin, Barnegat
Cell phones shut down
More than 40,000 are without power in Barnegat, Manahawkin and Long Beach Island Tuesday as the region begins the long cleanup after getting directly hit by Hurricane Sandy.
This morning, sustained winds had dropped to around 20 miles per hour, and emergency managment officials were hopeful that Long Beach Island would not suffer more damage.
Harvey Cedars Police Chief Tom Preiser told Patch: "things are really calm right now, we're hoping that hints at better things for high tide."
Preiser relocated to an emergency operations center in Stafford by early this evening, noting "by 5 p.m., our evacuation was pretty well completed. Nobody was waiting to come over."
He said rescue operations had been suspended for the night, and suggested that the few holdouts that stayed behind "stay put till morning, and get to high ground."
In a press conference, Gov. Chris Christie warned those still on the barrier islands not to try to evacuate at this point. "Get to the highest point possible," Christie said. "I'm very disappointed some decided to disobey my order and in government officials who told them to directly disobey my orders. It's going to cost people over the next several hours."
He reiterated to those watching him Monday night to "please stay home."
"Stay safe, keep your children close, and we will continue to work hard to make sure as many people in New Jersey are safe."
Preiser noted that there was still a few cots available at the Southern Regional evacuation center, which had a capacity of 320 people.
Preiser noted that evacuees may have to stay put for at least another day, as the "streets are still full of water," throughout Long Beach Island. He also noted that a "couple of [electrical] poles snapped at the North end of the island," which meant certain areas, although not all, of the island, were without power.
He also noted widespread debris and sand in the streets.
At the tip of Long Beach Island, ocean waters may be beginning to meet bay waters, as police, working with the National Guard, scramble to evacuate holdouts off the island.
Long Beach Township Police Chief Anthony Deely told Patch that there are several "pick up" points along the island for people wanting to evacuate, including High Point Volunteer Fire Company, Ship Bottom Police Department, Long Beach Township Police Department, and Engleside Avenue in Beach Haven.
As of this afternoon, more than 100 people have been helped to the pick up points, where they are then transported by National Guard vehicles and busses over the bridge to the Southern Regional evacuation center. He advised people to call for assistance.
"If you are on the island and cannot get to a pick up point, please stay where you are, call the police department, and give us details of where you are, who is there, how many, and give us a contact number." Deely said.
Deely said emergency crews were trying to capitalize on a "limited window" of a "low tide" this afternoon to evacuate more people off the island - although today's low tide was as high as a regular high tide for LBI.
Asked by a Patch reporter whether the ocean has met the bay at any point on the island, he said: "I would say that's a true statement," noting reports of such activity in Holgate. He then confirmed one report that the ocean had breached the dunes in certain parts of the township, but added, "we can't control the rumor mill at this point, all we're worried about is making people safe."
Across the Causeway bridge, Lt. Thomas Dellane told Patch the Southern evacuation center was expecting about another 100 people from the island this afternoon.
Stafford police are conducting rescues by boats only in areas like Mud City, Cedar Bonnet Island, and Beach Haven West since these areas are flooded. He said the Township has made about 45 rescues today.
Anyone in need of assistance in evacuating in Stafford should call 609-597-8581.
About this column: News and essential information about Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.