|Nasa photo of Hurricane Irene, August 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm|
UPDATE, 8/26/11 3:00 PM): I was told that the designated city shelters are Washington Community School (427 Darrow Ave), Emerson Community School (305 Emerson Ave), and the Plainfield Senior Citizens Center (400 E. Front St). More information about the storm is supposed to be on the city's website.
As you probably already know, Governor Christie has declared a state of emergency for New Jersey. Please stayed tuned to your local news channel for alerts--check the city's web site as well for information on emergency management planning--where to go, what to do, etc., in the event of a disaster. It is devoutly to be wished that we are spared the worst of the storm, but preparation is important.
Bill Dressel, Executive Director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, sent information about the declaration to elected officials all across the state. Here are the pertinent parts of the email--since we are prone to extensive flooding here in Plainfield, I have put some information in bold red.
In addition, ED Dressel notes:
"According to the most recent tracking, the storm could make landfall over the State, specifically Cape May and Atlantic counties, on Saturday. Further, storm surges could lead to extensive flooding in parts of the State. The State's climatologist indicates that Irene could be the most catastrophic storm to hit the State on record. The Governor's action allows for the possible deployment of the National Guard. The Governor is urging for a voluntary evacuation of coastal areas and indicated he was considering a mandatory evacuation for parts of the Jersey Shore. The State Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is urging residents to stock up on supplies now, such as bottled water and canned goods and keep first-aid kits, batteries and flashlights on hand.
Information on hurricane preparation is available at http://www.redcross.org/
More information is available at http://ready.nj.gov/.
Those of you who use twitter can also follow the New Jersey State Police at: http://twitter.com/NJSP.
The League will also provide updates on its twitter feed at http://twitter.com/NJ_League
Mayors across the state were also invited to participate in a conference call with Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. According to Dressel, "The purpose of this call will be to provide an update on the latest track of Hurricane Irene as well as DHS and FEMA's current posture and preparations going forward." I look forward to hearing from the mayor about this conference call.
In addition, Bill Dressel notes that municipalities that are severely affected by the hurricane can be helped:
"Finally, be aware that the Governor's Declaration of a State of Emergency provides a cap exception for any extraordinary costs associated with the weather. We have reached out to the Division of Local Government Services for additional guidance on this, and other, consequences of the storm and the Governor's declaration. We will share any additional information that we receive with you. In the meantime, you might want to carefully account for any extraordinary storm-related expenses that you incur, including storm preparation, response and recovery, while the State of Emergency remains in effect."
This means that Plainfield could, potentially, receive aid in the case of extraordinary expenses incurred.
I hope this is helpful--please stock up, stay informed, and stay safe.