Monthly Archives: August 2010

COAST GUARD WARNS BOATERS AHEAD OF EARL

coast_guardThe Coast Guard is urging mariners to heed warnings as Hurricane Earl is expected to affect the mid-Atlantic region between North Carolina and New Jersey Thursday and Friday.

As Earl approaches, the Coast Guard urges people to be mindful of the following safety messages:

- Anticipate bridge closures. Mariners are advised that during strong storms drawbridges along the coast may deviate from the normal operating procedures. Drawbridges are authorized to remain closed upon the approach of gale force winds or higher as stated in the Code of Federal Regulations 117.35, which applies to “natural disasters or civil disorders.” Mariners should anticipate bridge closures by listening to the National Weather Service and Coast Guard broadcasts on the storm conditions.

For a list of bridge closures in Sector Hampton Roads please view the Sector Hampton Roads Marine Safety Information Bulletin 10/014.

- Stay off the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities are degraded as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed. Boaters are urged to heed to weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories. People should not go out on their boats 48 hours prior to and at least 72-96 hours after a hurricane has passed through an area.

- Evacuate as necessary. If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, the public is urged to heed to these evacuation orders. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate those in danger during the storm.

- Secure your belongings. Owners of larger boats are urged to move their boats to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or damage. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, lifejackets and small boats. These items, if not secured properly, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources to be diverted to ensure they are not actually people in distress.

- Be cautious of hazardous materials. If you have hazardous materials on or near the water you are responsible for any spills that may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure them prior to any foul weather.

- Stay clear of beaches. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by Earl. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe.

- Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of Earl through local television, radio and internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF channel 16.

- For more information on the progress of Earl and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center’s website at the following link – http://www.nhc.noaa.gov.

VAN DREW ASKS FOR EVACUATION BILLS TO MOVE FORWARD

vandrewCiting dangerous weekend surf activity resulting from Hurricane Danielle and forecasts that Hurricane Earl could bring potentially damaging winds to New Jersey shores by week’s end, Senator Jeff Van Drew today said it is more important than ever for the Legislature to move forward on a measure he sponsored to improve state emergency evacuation plans.

“We dodged a direct hit to our coast with Hurricane Danielle, and I’m hopeful we’ll do the same with Hurricane Earl, but it’s important to recognize that we won’t always be so fortunate,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “Updating our emergency plans is critical to ensuring that we are prepared for any weather activity that comes our way and is particularly important to protecting our residents in the event a large-scale storm impacts the coast.”

Hurricane Danielle created severe rip tides at shores across New Jersey over the weekend, resulting in dozens of rescues – more than 50 in Atlantic City alone. Hurricane Earl is expected to pass off the coast of New Jersey Thursday night into Friday, which could possibly bring tropical storm conditions to the shore regions, according to the National Weather Service.

“While hurricane season began June 1, we’re just beginning the peak period for hurricane and tropical storm activity in New Jersey ,” said Senator Van Drew. “These major storms in the Atlantic are a reminder that there’s still much work to do when it comes to creating a comprehensive emergency response plan for our state.”

The Senator’s legislation (S-264) was developed from recommendations by a legislative task force that convened in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The bill addresses a broad range of issues to better prepare the state for a hurricane or tropical storm, from ensuring that evacuation plans are consistent among counties, to giving the public information about how to respond in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Other provisions in the bill would:

SHELTERS

-Require a team of experts – with members from the Office of Emergency Management, and the departments of Health and Senior Services and Community Affairs – to identify elementary and secondary schools that could be used as short-term shelters in a state-wide emergency. The commission would also identify and reserve locations to serve as long-term shelters.

Additionally, the team would identify schools that do not meet the standards under current law for the licensing of emergency shelters and, if needed, allocate funding for the renovation, repair, or alteration of those buildings. Any school built following the effective date of the law would be required to meet specifications to serve as a temporary emergency shelter.

TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

- Require the New Jersey State Police to work in conjunction with county emergency management coordinators to implement a lane reversal strategy on the Atlantic City Expressway, the Garden State Parkway , and Interstate 287 in preparation for an evacuation during an emergency.

- Prohibit the towing of a drawn or towed trailer in the area where an emergency had been declared and an evacuation ordered, regardless of whether lane reversal was in effect.

-Require state and county emergency management officials to identify critical infrastructure that would need alternative emergency power generators in the event of an outage.

 

SPECIAL NEEDS

- Allow counties to develop a central registry for residents with special needs who require additional assistance during an emergency.

- Require the Department of Health and Senior Services to provide for a coordinated statewide evacuation strategy for hospitals and other health care facilities, to include a plan to get patients alternative sources of care and temporary shelter.

- Expand Emergency Operation Plans on the state, county and municipal levels to include domesticated animals in evacuation plans, in addition to the current requirement to address the needs of farm and service animals during an emergency.

The legislation was unanimously approved last month by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, where it awaits consideration.

FIGHT AT STARDUST CLUB LEADS TO 11 ARRESTS

Wildwood Police have officially released information regarding the brawl at the Stardust Night Club in Wildwood. Police say it took 30 to 40 minutes for officers to get control of the situation. Eleven people were arrested including:

- Justin Moore, of Cape May Court House

- Darell Wooten, of Rio Grande

- Benny Dixon, of Vineland

- Lowman Easter, of Wildwood

- Cyree Hayward, of Felton, De.

- Anthony Love Jr., of Millville

- Randy Woler, of Whitesboro

- Demetrious Wooten, of Dover, De.

- Calvin Hayward, of Wooden Bridge, De.

- Angel Hatcher, of Del Haven

Charges varied from rioting, to aggravated assault on a police officer, to obstruction.

ACCIDENT ON OCEAN DRIVE BRIDGE INJURES TWO

Lower_Township_PoliceAn accident took place Monday morning on the Ocean Drive bridge in Lower Township. Police there say that one victim had to be airlifted to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center with a serious head injury. A second person was also injured and taken to Cape Regional. The identities of the victims has not yet been released.

RECORD TEMPERATURES RECORDED, MORE ON WAY

A new record temperature was set on Sunday. The high temperature soared to 98 degrees at the Atlantic City International Airport in Pomona. This surpassed the previous record high for this date of 96 degrees, which was set back in 1953. High temperatures are only expected to continue this week. A high of 96 and 97 degrees are predicted for today and tomorrow. Things will begin to cool off slightly as the week goes on. The National Weather Service says that high temperatures will end up in the mid 80′s end the end of the week.

RIP TIDES CAUSED BE DANIELLE CONTINUE THIS WEEK

The long period swells associated with distant Hurricane Danielle will continue to affect the New Jersey and Delaware beaches today. The magnitude of the rip currents will be less than the past few days… but still may create dangerous conditions at times. Caution is urged. While the swells may be lower Tuesday… more enhanced swells from Hurricane Earl will probably arrive Wednesday.

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

A moderate risk of rip currents means that individuals planning to enter the surf should check with the local beach patrol first. Be sure to swim within sight of a lifeguard and never swim alone or at night.

LABOR DAY TRAFFIC EXPECTED TO BE UP FOR HOLIDAY

220px-AAA_logo_svgThe traffic for the big holiday is expected to be up significantly. AAA Mid-Atlantic is predicting a near 10 percent increase in vehicle traffic for the Labor Day holiday. The 9.6 percent increase is be compared to one year ago. The auto group says in their release that they believe despite the news of the economy, many people are interested in taking a final trip before the end of the summer.