(CBS News) BAY HEAD, N.J. - The town of Bay Head is especially vulnerable. It sits just 10 feet above sea level, and like other coastal communities, residents here have been ordered to evacuate.
The race is on along the Jersey Shore to leave ahead of Hurricane Sandy.
Ted Smith evacuated his 81-year-old mother, Althea, from their house in Bay Head. He's worried about the water pushing through their beachfront home.
"The ocean will definitely come up this far. If you look at the ocean right now, it's coming up pretty high," Smith said.
Throughout the region, people from coastal towns are jamming highways and roads to escape the storm.
Forecasters predict, as winds push water onshore, a storm surge could cause water levels to rise 6 to 11 feet, all the way up the Eastern Seaboard into Connecticut and Rhode Island. The greatest concern is that the peak surge will coincide with high tide.
The storm is expected to cause widespread outages and power crews are being positioned inland ready to respond.
"They got us on 16 hour shifts. We started at 7 o'clock this morning. We'll wait and see what happens," said Bill Pazienza of Jersey Central Power and Light.
The storm threat is also shutting down the casinos in Atlantic City.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is urging people to take the storm seriously.
"It's going to make landfall in New Jersey, that's clear. Where in New Jersey, we're not quite clear. What that means for us, of the states that are going to be impacted by this storm, we appear at least at the moment to be taking the brunt of it," Christie said.
Because of the storm, the New Jersey National Guard has been placed on standby, ready to deploy personnel and equipment, including high water vehicles, and search and rescue teams.