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Governor Christie Declares State of Emergency in Advance of Hurricane Irene

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Uploaded on Aug 25, 2011

Governor Christie discusses potential impact of Hurricane Irene and declares State of Emergency. For more information please visit: http://ready.nj.gov/
(Transcript Below)


GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: The latest tracking tells us that this is going to become more serious than less. We've moved to an extreme rating from the National Weather Service in terms of the impact on New Jersey and the current tracking is going to lead to, if it continues, a serious significant event in the state. The Emergency Operations Center has been activated. We've been preparing as I've said department coordination of the State Police, the National Guard, Homeland Security and Preparedness, the DEP, Department of Transportation, and Human Services. Before I entered the room, I signed a declaration of a state of emergency already in anticipation of what's going to be happening. That is going to allow General Reith to begin to deploy National Guard resources throughout the state immediately and he has begun to execute on those orders which I just signed. The state OEM is coordinating with every county, all twenty-one, as they mobilize preparations at the county and local level and this is very important to emphasize for local elected officials and for county officials. Any request for any assistance must come through from the local to the county up to the state OEM. We will not be dealing with individual requests to the National Guard or others from localities. They have to go through the coordinated system. That's the only way for us to be able to assess and evaluate the relative need of the various requests and to be able to get a handle on what's going on throughout the state on a real-time basis throughout all twenty-one counties. I'm going to turn it over for a moment to Colonel Fuentes for him to give an update on the status of the hurricane and where we see things going right now. I'll come back to talk about a few other things and then bring Director McKenna and General Reith to talk about some stuff and then I'll take questions from you. So Colonel.

COLONEL FUENTES: Thank you Governor. As the Governor pointed out we've been working with county and local OEMs since Monday looking at all the possible scenarios and we basically woke up this morning to find that the storm had wobbled westward. That was not a good sign for us because it looks like the eye is going to pass very close to if not over Cape May which means that the barrier islands that are concentrated in Atlantic County and in Cape May County are going to be subject to some very high winds. They are going to be subject to a storm surge which may run as much as twelve feet as a result of the coincidence of astronomical tides on Saturday night and Sunday morning. And so we're engaged in somewhat extraordinary discussions beyond the normal discussions that we've had over the last few days about the nature of evacuations. The Governor is probably going to talk a little bit more about that. The entire state is obviously going to be subject to a pretty terrible rain event. As a matter of fact right now and this system doesn't have anything to do with the hurricane. We're looking at one to two inches of rain through very early in the overnight hours and then tomorrow should be a nice day which is going to play very well for the evacuations that we're asking and working with the counties to carry out and Saturday evening we're literally going to be in the thick of it with tropical storm winds that are going to be arriving down in the Cape May area probably around 6 pm. They're going to build in intensity to CAT 1 hurricane force winds which may run upwards of 80 mph as we get into the early Sunday morning hours. Obviously at that point in time we want everybody to be home to be properly prepped. We don't want anybody on those barriers and we're going to be working very, very closely with the county and local OEMs to make sure that we get everybody out of harm's way and that we restrict access on any bridge entry to those islands as we get closer to the event because it doesn't make sense to take people off while we're letting people in. So all of those things are occurring right now. You can imagine that this is a very dynamic situation. We have excellent partnerships in this state and I think everybody knows that. This is where we take it beyond the battlefield conditions and put it to work so I want to thank the counties and the locals for their assistance in this.

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: The Colonel mentioned the issue of evacuation. First thing. Anyone who has shore rentals or who are planning to go to the shore this weekend, do not go. If the event starts on Saturday of Sunday do not go. As the Colonel said we are anticipating this to hit on Saturday night and as a result we won't know well into Monday what the level of potential damage is in those areas both to property and to any life that would be out there. We do not want folks going to the shore this weekend...

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