As warnings about the oncoming Hurricane Irene became more and more dire last week, Jersey City residents stocked up on emergency supplies or prepared to leave town. The hurricane was expected to hit New Jersey as category 2 storm with winds that could top 100 miles per hour – a rare occurrence in the Garden State, as hurricanes often lose strength when traveling north in the Atlantic Ocean.
On Thursday, Gov. Christopher Christie declared New Jersey in a state of emergency so he could seek support from the National Guard.
Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, in conjunction the Office of Emergency Management, announced that the city would set up four emergency shelters at public schools.
For emergencies, call 911.
OEM officials expected to determine by about noon on Saturday, Aug. 27 whether to evacuate all residents. Mayor Healy urged residents to put together an emergency bag should they need to relocate.
The four initial emergency shelters that would be opened were MS#4, 107 Bright St., MS#7, 222 Laidlaw Ave., PS#17, 600 Bergen Ave., and PS#38, 339 Stegman Parkway. Any disabled or elderly residents who needed transportation to one of the emergency shelters were asked to call 201-547-5684.
Residents who park their vehicles underground or in low-lying areas were told to move their vehicles to higher ground in anticipation of the storm. City emergency and public works vehicles will be staged at key locations throughout the city on Friday in advance of the storm.
Officials also asked residents to remove any items that could become projectiles as a result of high winds, including patio furniture, grills, construction equipment, and bicycles. Inspectors from the Building Department and the Engineering Division were in contact with construction sites to notify them to remove construction materials from worksites and roadways.
OEM officials were encouraging residents to have a preparedness kit ready with batteries, water, flashlights, and charged cell phones, as well as any immediate supplies such as food, medicines, and important papers. Senior citizens and residents who take medications daily should fill their prescriptions now in advance of the storm.
The MUA, in conjunction with the JCIA, cleared catch basis and sewers of debris to allow the water to go down during the storm.
What about Fido?
According to the city, the Liberty Humane Society (LHS) shelter was taking precautions to safe guard their animals. If needed, Jersey City Animal Control Division is prepared to accommodate their evacuation needs as well as residents with pets by using the Jersey City Office of Emergency Management Mobile Animal Rescue trailer. This trailer will be hooked up to an animal control vehicle and will remove any at risk animals to higher ground.
Contact these local groups for further information and assistance for animals: Jersey City Animal Control at 201-547-4888, The Liberty Humane Society at 201 547-4147, Assistance for Hudson County Hudson County Animal League 201 200-1008.
To contact the police, call 911 or 201-547-5300.
To call City Hall, call 201-547-5200.
For more information on Hurricane Irene and for the list of evacuation routes, continue to visit the city website at www.jerseycitynj.gov and the city’s Facebook page.
Ray Smith may be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com