Hurricane Sandy: 5 PM ET, 90 mph winds, Cat 1, 940 mb, moving WNW at 28 mph. Sandy will make landfall within 2 hrs near Cape May, NJ
CAPE MAY — Get out while you can. That’s the plea Cape May County officials made to residents planning on hunkering down in the barrier islands tonight.
About 60 percent of the barrier islands have been evacuated, according to Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton, who called Hurricane Sandy “the worst-case scenario for any storm that we have experienced.”
“I’m going to emphasize again while this little bit of time is left, if there’s any way possible you can leave those barrier islands, leave. Leave. You’re in danger,” Thornton said. “Look, we’re at the last instant here. This is the last hour. You’re not going to see any more warnings here.”
Thornton said there is serious flooding on barrier islands throughout the county with reports of water in some town reaching 5 feet.
“We’re requesting again that people that didn’t evacuate the barrier islands, please evacuate now. The next high tide is scheduled at 8:35 tonight and that would be about 45 minutes later on the back bays. So there still is some time to evacuate,” said Martin Pagliughi, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Cape May County.
“I’m going to emphasize again… if there’s any way possible you can leave those barrier islands, leave. Leave. You’re in danger.”
Pagliughi said both North Wildwood and Sea Isle City had to put out structural fires today.
During the response in Sea Isle, a National Guard truck that was brought in to portable pumps to try to fight the fire collided with a civilian vehicle. Pagliughi said three people, both national guard personnel and civilians, were hurt in the accident, but didn’t have other details on the extent of the injuries.
According to officials about 600 people are staying in shelters and more than 7,600 people are out of power, but as the wind picks up more residents are expected to lose power.
“It’s a large storm of epic proportions that we’ve never seen here in Cape May County before,” Pagliughi said. “We’re begging you, please leave the islands tonight.”