While New Jersey residents stock up on bottled water, milk, batteries and non-perishables and as media types try to contain the hyperbole, Gloucester Township officials are doing their best to prepare for if/when Hurricane Sandy strikes.
Gloucester Township Police Capt. Jeff Weiserth said Friday afternoon that township officials are "closely monitoring" weather forecasts and have begun taking precautionary steps to assure the township is ready should Sandy live up to the hype.
“We're closely monitoring the progress of the storm ... and Gloucester Township Office of Emergency Management has been in contact with the state and county offices of emergency management," Weiserth said.
Meteorologists caution this is not just a typical hurricane heading our way. That's because there's a chance Sandy will get mixed up with a storm from the Midwest, a high-pressure system out of Greenland and a dip in the jet stream to create what has been dubbed a "Frankenstorm."
The chances of the storm striking New Jersey, and the rest of the East Coast, rose between Wednesday and Thursday.
The National Weather Service warned the storm could bring with it strong damaging winds, extremely heavy rainfall and major flooding along streams and rivers, with the potential for record river flooding. A full moon on Oct. 29 will likely exacerbate the flooding situation.
The timetable for any impact from Hurricane Sandy turning into a potential nor’easter would be Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.
As of 1:30 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service was calling for possible tropical storm conditions in Blackwood Monday and Tuesday.
Meetings will be held over the weekend to coordinate a plan of attack should forecasts continue to put New Jersey in the thick of the "Frankenstorm," Weiserth said.
Needless to say, township officials are taking precautions.
The Public Works Department spent Friday assuring all the equipment it may need is functioning properly and that storm drains were clear of debris, according to Weiserth.
Police urged residents to sign up for the township's emergency and community alert system through Global Connect. The system sends registered users important information via email and/or cell phone text messages. To sign up, click here.
Only call 911 in the event of an emergency. To reach Gloucester Township Police for non-emergency purposes, call 856-228-4500.
Other important numbers to keep in your home:
- Camden County chapter of the American Red Cross, 856-365-7100
- Power Outages: PSE&G, 1-800-436-7734, or Atlantic City Electric, 1-800-833-7476
- Gas Leaks: South Jersey Gas, 1-800-582-7060
- Phone/Internet/Cable Service Interruption: Verizon, 1-800-837-4966, or Comcast 1-800-266-2278
And be sure to stay with Patch for more information as the storm develops.