A mandatory evacuation is planned for the barrier islands and Delaware Bay communities of Cape May County with the storm spawned by Hurricane Sandy approaching, according to the Cape May County Emergency Management website.
Brigantine also has issued a voluntary evacuation order, effective immediately, to become mandatory on Sunday at 8 a.m.
The evacuations in Cape May County will be voluntary starting Saturday. On Sunday the evacuation will become mandatory.
Voluntary evacuations are also being implemented in Middle Township and Long Beach Island.
Cape May County emergency officials aid that after conferring with state officials Friday morning, “the county’s position and the state’s recommendation is that there will be voluntary evaluation of the barrier islands and Delaware Bay communities, tomorrow and mandatory evacuation on Sunday, October 28th for Barrier Islands and Delaware Bay communities. However, if the storm direction intensifies or changes we will modify this directive.”
North Wildwood police Chief Robert Mattaucci said the Saturday evacuation for the Cape May County barrier islands is for non-residents. On Sunday, there will be a mandatory evacuation for everyone through 9 p.m.
"At 9.m., the road is closed," he said. "No one in or out."
"Once you leave you won't be able to go back," Cape May County Freeholder Len Desiderio said.
Mattaucci said Cape May County is planning to set up four evacuation shelters, but their locations have not been determined.
He said officials expect "tidal flooding of major proportions, possibly historic" of 8 to 10 feet.
Middle Township warned Friday that conditions are expected to intensify as the storm moves toward landfall sometime Tuesday morning.
“We are asking for a voluntary evacuation in the Back Bay and Delaware Bay communities,” township police said in a press release. “Residents should be prepared for power outages for an extended period of time and plan accordingly with food, water and other miscellaneous supplies.”
Residents may call The Middle Township Emergency Operations at 609-463-1833 with any questions during the following hours: Today, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and beginning on Sunday at 9 a.m. the line will be open 24 hours until further notice.
Wildwood Crest Borough Clerk Kevin Yecco said Friday he was waiting to receive confirmation from the borough Police Department, but it appears there will be an optional evacuation through 8 a.m. Sunday.
The evacuation will become mandatory after 8 a.m. Sunday through 9 p.m. Sunday for the barrier islands in Cape May County, he said.
Wildwood Crest residents are being notified through the emergency phone message program.
Wildwood Police Chief Steve Long said city officials are expected to meet within the next two hours to decide what to do in response to the storm. He said he was waiting to hear from Cape May County officials.
Problems with the storm will not be limited to the barrier islands.
In Cumberland County, the Vineland Office of Emergency Management said Friday it is coordinating with the Red Cross and Salvation Army to open emergency shelters in the area. Details will be announced once the efforts have been finalized.
Also in Vineland, the water utility is asking customers to conserve water during the storm. Public Works employees are also clearing storm drain areas of leaves and other debris to avoid flooding.