EWING – Gov. Chris Christie had a simple message today for residents of Cape May, Ocean and Atlantic counties.
“You have to get out,” he said today at a state police operations center here. The state has instituted a mandatory evacuation notice for those three counties in preparation for Hurricane Irene.
There will be no eastbound traffic to Atlantic City tonight after 6. All rail service and gaming activity will be suspended Saturday, he said.
Motor Vehicle Commission offices will be closing in several southern counties at 4 p.m. today.
“There is going to be significant storm activity in the barrier islands,” Christie said at a press conference to discuss storm preparations. “This is not like anything you have seen before.”
Those who are planning to ride out the Category 2 storm would be foolish to do so, the governor warned.
“You stay there at the risk of your life,” he said.
He said the track of the storm hasn’t changed in the last 24 hours.
He urged residents in affected areas to evacuate as soon as possible, as several highways will be shut down for contraflow, allowing traffic to drive in what normally would be the wrong direction.
“The sooner you leave the more orderly it will be. The (Garden State) Parkway will be very crowded.”
Starting at 6 p.m. today nobody we’ll be allowed to travel the eastbound lanes of Routes 47 and 347.
No traffic southbound will be permitted south of Parkway exit 98 starting 8 p.m., he said.
He encouraged people to have five days worth of food and water, batteries, can openers, and transistor radios.
“Today is not the day to go to dinner in Atlantic City,” Christie said.
The state reported that the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Ocean County will shut down and use backup generators. It was not known how long it would be down. The operators of the state’s three other nuclear plants, all in Salem County, will make their decisions later based on weather conditions.
Lee Solomon, head of the state Board of Public Utilities, said all of the operators of the nuclear generating stations are following their own protocols based upon the weather that comes.
Christie said that NJ Transit buses will evacuate people who need help getting out.