In a live blog, President Obama urges Americans who are in the path of Hurricane Irene to take precautions now and take what could go down as a historic weather-related event seriously. Also: Atlantic City casinos to close Friday after Jersey shore told to evacuate.
Traffic was heavy Friday morning in Somers Point as cars lined up at gas stations (with some stations only having "Premium" left to sell), and people went shopping for essentials.
By 9:30am most of the stores in the ShopRite shopping plaza were closed, and the Rite Aid in Somers Point was set to close at 6pm "until Monday possibly," according to one employee.
While a report on one local morning radio show claimed that an unnamed gas station in Pleasantville had been raising the price of gas, "by ten cents," while cars were in line waiting at the pump, water, batteries, and candles were in short supply in area stores.
Milk, however, was available in most of the open stores.
While a large amount of people have evacuated the area, made evident by the thick traffic Thursday night heading north on the Garden State Parkway, many locals are staying.
One Somers Point resident says he is going to secure everything outside of his home, put in the storm windows, "and stay right here" as Irene approaches.
According to a report on Phillyweather.net, Hurricane Irene is heading north, with the eye of the storm slightly shifting to the east. The storm is set to hit several [East Coast] locations within the next 48-60 hours, bringing with it heavy rain and strong gusts of wind. There is a strong potential for flooding to bayfront and oceanfront property."
Earlier this morning, the Web site reported that "Philaelphia is now under a hurricane warning.
According to the National Weather Service, the chance for hurricane conditions is less than or equal to 14 percent, but the chance for tropical storm conditions is up to 82 percent."
Although Irene has weakened to a Category 2 storm, winds of at least 50 miles per hour are expected for the southern Jersey shore area with flooding a big concern due to the tides in relation to Monday's New Moon.
According to NBC New York: "Nearly all of the New Jersey shore and the entire southern half of the state are under a hurricane warning, and mandatory evacuations are under way in Cape May County, coastal Atlantic County and Long Beach Island.
"Officials have called for voluntary evacuations in other areas along the coast. State Police say evacuations are going smoothly so far."
"This is my first hurricane, and I'm very concerned," Danielle Hebroni, 22, of Shoham, Israel, told NBC New York. he was among many evacuees at the Atlantic City bus terminal. "We're glad to be getting out of here."
Also from NBC New York: "Arthur Peteriet, a waiter at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, was waiting for a bus to New York City where he planned to stay with his sister.
"'You can't fight nature,' he said. 'If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen.'
At this point, nobody is certain what is going to happen and where, but as President Obama wrote on a live blog this morning, at 11:35am, "If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. All indications point to this being a historic hurricane."
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Emergency management officials recommend residents in Philadelphia and throughout parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware prepare for the storm.
The storm, which has killed several dozen people in the Caribbean, is expected to be a "storm of historic proportions" for the Mid-Atlantic region, including the New Jersey shore, New York City, Delaware, Pennsylvania and possibly Ohio.
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.
While Hurricane Irene has everybody signing the wrong words to the 1982 Dexy's Midnight Runners No. 1 hit "Come on Eileen," the following songs have likely come to mind for many in the path of the big storm.
See live photo feed, live Atlantic City Web cam and latest updates on Hurricane Irene and the Jersey shore region.
"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."
Thousands of people evacuated the many hotels and casinos in Atlantic City, with the city streets filled with people pouring from the buildings.
The A.C. Comedy Festival is getting off to an impressive start with Friday’s lineup of Mike Epps, EarthQuake, George Willborn, Don “DC” Curry and Mario Tory. Saturday’s lineup features top comics Sommore, Bruce Bruce, D.L. Hughley, Gary Owen and TuRae.
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