Gov. Chris Christie holds 4pm press conference (see video here) advising those in evacuation areas to seek shelter from the approaching storm.
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ATLANTIC CITY — "Get the hell off the beaches in Asbury Park," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said bluntly during a 4pm press conference in relation to Hurricane Irene and the state of emergency in effect for the Garden State.
"It's 4:30 p.m. You've maximized your tan. Get off the beaches and get into your cars."
Christie also gave information about shelters being made available throughout the state, but advised those who are able to to evacuate the area and make other plans for shelter from the storm.
"Shelters are places of last resort," Christie said. "Do not go to a center because it's close to your house and driving to a friends' house would take an hour."
Christie called on residents clinging to their homes on barrier islands to leave and not ride the storm out, despite weather experts saying the storm may not be as severe as once reported.
In Ocean City, Cape May County, officials say the Route 52 Causeway into Ocean City will remain open until about 10am Saturday morning.
After that time, officials say they plan to limit traffic into the town.
Across the bay in Somers Point, early-morning traffic, lines at the gas pumps and in local grocery-store aisles turned into a calm before the storm as some residents sat on the beach as if it were a regular August day at the Jersey shore — and a hot one at that — and others took in a late lunch/early dinner at The Anchorage on Bay Avenue, which was still open at 4pm.
Earlier in the day, Patrice Popovic, owner of Smith's Clam Bar was getting all of the fresh seafood out of her waterfront restaurant that depends on seasonal patrons to survive.
Popovic says the evacuation and Irene have caused her to close down The Clam Bar until Tuesday, because she will have to start from scratch in terms of food following Irene's presence in the area and will need a day to prepare.
"I have never had to shut down like this," Popovic says. "It's going to have a big economic impact on us. We're going to be closed for several days."
As employees took away and gave away the restaurant's food and perishable items, others boarded up the windows on the wooden structure, which is connected to a dock on the bay.
The windows at Somers Point's City Hall were boarded up by Friday afternoon as were the doors and windows at nearby Charlie's.
Down Shore Road, Sandi Pointe remained open, with a chalkboard set up outside its doorway advertising a happy hour from 4-6pm.
Over at Somers Point Lumber, nearly all of the plywood had been sold by 4pm as patrons buying wood to board up their properties filled the yard for most of the day. The place "sold a lot of wood today," according to one employee.
While most businesses in Ocean City, Atlantic City, and even Asbury Park, remained closed for the most part early Friday evening — including all of Atlantic City's casinos — many locals in the mandatory evacuation areas remained in their homes.
The latest reports indicate that the Isaac is "much weaker than Katrina," but that thousands in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi have been forced to evacuate as the tropical storm moves in.
At least 19 deaths over the past 24 hours, from Florida up to Connecticut, have been blamed on Irene-related incidents, according to national officials.
Hours after remarking during a Sunday afternoon press conference that a New Jersey firefighter “succumbed to his injuries from an attempted swift water rescue” in Princeton, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's office acknowledged that Christie incorrectly stated today that that firefighter had died.
See live photo feed, live Atlantic City Web cam and latest updates on Hurricane Irene and the Jersey shore region.
Boards covered up the usually-bustling summer haunts Charlie's and the Anchorage in Somers Point. On Route 9, most businesses were closed, with the exception of a nearby Wawa in Northfield, which, according to one employee, was to remain open until "they tell us to close."
Thousands of people evacuated the many hotels and casinos in Atlantic City, with the city streets filled with people pouring from the buildings.
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ust after noon on Friday, it was reported that all Atlantic City casinos will shut down Friday, Aug. 26, due to Hurricane Irene and the mandatory evacuations.
AP: "The National Weather Service on Thursday issued a hurricane warning for nearly all the state's 130-mile coast on the Atlantic Ocean, and for areas along the Delaware Bay and River from Cape May nearly to Trenton."
It is a voluntary evacuation, according to reports. However, as experts expect the storm to hit the Jersey shore Saturday night, Christie urges Jersey shore-area residents and visitors not to come to the area this weekend and for those who are here now, to leave, if they can.
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