Christie urges ‘calm’ as Hermine approaches New Jersey
MORRISTOWN — Don't be fooled by the nice weather throughout much of New Jersey right now, because things "are going to get bad." That was Gov. Chris Christie's message this afternoon as he explained the steps the state has taken to prepare for Hermine's arrival.
During a press conference Sunday at the Morristown Armory, Christie said the storm is pacing slower than it had been in previous days, which means the effects could last until Wednesday. However, he urged New Jerseyans not to panic, as Hermine won't bring the same type of conditions we saw with superstorm Sandy or even Jonas - the blizzard that dumped about three feet of snow on the region and caused flooding.
“This is certainly not Sandy, nowhere near that, and it’s not even Jonas," Christie said. “The current models are showing moderate flooding at worst, and so I want everybody to remain calm.”
The governor said the greatest impacts are expected in Cape May, Atlantic and Ocean counties, where a state of emergency was issued Saturday. The tropical storm, which has been veering east, is expected to bring strong winds, heavy, sustained rain and moderate-to-major coastal flooding. There are no travel bans or mandatory evacuations, but officials in Atlantic County officials have urged people in flood-prone areas to voluntarily clear out and move vehicles to higher ground.
According to the governor, the state of emergency was issues so that if the need arises, the National Guard can be deployed. Since this is a holiday weekend, the staffing levels within the Guard are lower than on a typical weekend Christie said.
“The declaration of emergency is more about preparedness,” he said.
State officials are continuing to track the storm and Christie said they're in "wait and watch mode” to determine how Hermine will progress and the storm's impact on New Jersey.
As the storm approaches, ocean and back bay flooding are expected to be "low to moderate," Christie said, while Delaware Bay flooding is expected to be minor to low. He said residents of some flood-prone coastal areas could see "one to three feet of water on ground and in the streets in normally dry areas."
One of the most significant impacts from Hermine will be the beaches, the governor said.
“The beaches are the place where we will have the biggest long-term effect because of the wind gusts and the storm surge. We expect to see some significant beach erosion and some dangerous rip currents.”
Christie urged New Jerseyans to follow their local weather reports closely. The governor said he plans to speak with the National Weather Service again at 6 p.m. At this point, he said, no evacuations of the barrier islands are planned because state officials don't see an immediate need for it. If the storm is elevated to a hurricane or turns west, additional action may be taken, Christie said.
The governor also said beach-goers should exercise extreme caution because of dangerous rip currents.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.