EWING – Gov. Chris Christie issued his sternest warning yet Monday, telling residents to keep off New Jersey roads and stay inside their homes as the state braces to be hit by Hurricane Sandy.
The governor told reporters that “it’s just stupid” and “selfish” that some residents refused to evacuate after being told to leave their homes – especially along the barrier islands. Christie said roughly 35,000 people are without power so far and warned that the worst is yet to come.
“We need folks to follow instructions. We need folks to be on top of things and we need folks to remain calm,” Christie said during a noon news conference at the New Jersey State Police command center in Ewing.
“I told folks both Saturday and Sunday that this was going to be a significant storm and that we need to be prepared and that it’s going to be a long haul,” he said. “We probably have another 36 hours to go.”
Christie said officials are still monitoring the status of the storm, but said that it seems conditions may have gotten worse than officials first predicted.
“I can’t be any clearer than this,” Christie said, “You need to stay off the roads today. … People really need to stay home and stay off the roads.”
Christie said weather conditions tonight will be “significantly worse on the barrier islands.”
State government operations are likely to be closed tomorrow, Christie said, adding he plans to make a decision sometime later today.
The current approximation is that the hurricane will make landfall around midnight tonight somewhere between Atlantic City and northern Ocean County, Christie said.
“My biggest concern of flooding right now is the coastline and other parts of southern New Jersey,” Christie said.
Christie also warned residents who already lost power, or who are likely to lose power in the near future, that it is going to be a long haul. He urged residents to remain patient, saying utility crews won’t be able to work to restore power until the storm passes and it’s safe to make repairs.
The governor will be briefing local officials in about an hour and expects another media briefing around 4 p.m. today.
Christie will also be on 101.5 FM for Ask the Governor.