Barrier Island residents who ignored mandatory evacuation orders for Hurricane Sandy made a “stupid and selfish” decision, Gov. Chris Christie said. During a press conference in Ewing on Monday, the New Jersey governor urged those who stayed behind to get off the islands if they can find a way to do so safely.
“You’re putting other people in harm’s way. There are already rescues going on. This is putting first responders in danger,” Christie said.
High tide is expected to come in between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., with the heaviest rains arriving around midnight before Sandy makes landfall, according to the governor.
“When it comes tonight, we’re not going to be able to rescue you,” Christie said. “The flooding along the New Jersey coastline is going to be significant.
Christie also announced the Garden State Parkway closure had been extended to include Exit 63 to the southern terminus in both directions. He urged New Jersey residents to avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Additional closures may be announced as the weather worsens.
“People really need to stay home and stay off the roads,” Christie said. “If you have any doubt as to whether it’s necessary or not, stay home.”
New Jersey residents are beginning to feel the impact of the high winds, with 35,000 households without power, according to Christie. Those who lose electricity should expect to be remain without it for an extended periods. Once winds reach 40 mph, safety regulations prevent line workers from manning bucket trucks to fix downed fires, he said.
“These power companies are not getting out there in the next 24 hours, maybe the next 36 hours,” Christie said.