Monmouth County officials are urging residents in coastal and flood-prone areas to voluntarily evacuate in advance of Hurricane Irene’s expected arrival, said county spokesperson William Heine.
“You need to heed the warning on this one,” Heine said.
Local Office of Emergency Management officials have mandated evacuations in Keansburg, Monmouth Beach, Spring Lake and Sea Bright. While the county has not named specific towns where residents should heed the call to leave voluntarily, the rainfall is expected to be heavy and those who have experienced flooding in the past can expect to be severely impacted by the storm, according to Heine.
“A number of evacuation routes may be impacted by flooding. It’s important to make the decision to leave early,” Heine said.
Residents should try to make arrangements to stay with friends or family members west of the Garden State Parkway before seeking emergency shelter at one of the facilities the county is opening to the public during the storm, he said. The Red Cross will operate emergency shelters at Holmdel High School, 36 Crawford’s Corner Road, and Wall High School, 1630 18th Ave., beginning Friday at 5 p.m. Colts Neck High School, 59 Five Points Road, is expected to open Saturday at 8 a.m. as a shelter, according to Heine.
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders declared a state of emergency in the region Thursday. The decision allows the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management to direct resources and assign employees to alternate duties in order to protect life and property.
All 220 county Department of Public Works & Engineering employees will be working throughout the storm, as will Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office staff, according to Heine. Sheriff’s office employees not assigned to the Monmouth County Corrections Institution will assist local police departments, he said.
The clean-up after the storm is expected to be extensive and members of the county’s road and highway crews with vacation plans for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday are being required to report to work, Heine noted.
“We expect to have trees down all over,” he said.
On Friday and Saturday, Department of Public Works & Engineering employees will continue to clear out catch basins and move heavy equipment to anticipated trouble spots, according to Heine.