STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — Police blocked access to Long Beach Island after barrier island residents evacuated Sunday ahead of Hurricane Sandy.
Police cruisers and garbage trucks were used to block the inbound lanes of the Route 72 causeway to prevent motorists from returning to the island.
Meanwhile, in Stafford, residents of the township’s waterfront and bayside areas were ordered to evacuate by the local Office of Emergency Management. Those areas included Beach Haven West, Bayside (Mud City), Cedar Bonnet Island, Mallard Island, Village Harbour and Cedar Run Dock Road.
Police Lt. Thomas Dellane said in a news release that low-lying areas began flooding Sunday morning and although streets were still passable, residents were being urged to evacuate as soon as possible.
Stafford Township Emergency Management Coordinator and police Chief Joseph Giberson also said roadways in the evacuation area were already beginning to flood. As flooding becomes more severe, public safety personnel might be unable to reach those who do not to evacuate, they said.
Early Sunday morning, cars filled the Route 72 causeway as residents of Long Beach Island heeded warnings to evacuate, Beach Haven Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Beverly Tromm said. The bridge, which leads into Stafford Township, closed at 4 p.m. Sunday, Tromm said.
Meanwhile, she said, beaches in Beach Haven are as ready as they’re going to be for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival.
“Crews have been up there pushing sand for the past week,” she said.
As far as residents who plan to ride out the storm, she said she has gotten phone calls saying some people are not leaving.
“We can’t make them leave. We can try to persuade them to leave,” she said, adding she will be at the Beach Haven Emergency Operations Center for the duration of the storm.
“We’re not going anywhere. We have an obligation to the residents of Beach Haven,” she said.
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