EWING, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Hurricane Irene is making its way up the East Coast and expected to bring with it heavy rains and fierce winds when it gets to our area this weekend.
Gov. Chris Christie signed a state of emergency Thursday and asked all visitors at the Jersey Shore to leave by midday Friday, saying Irene was poised to be a ""serious, significant event,'' with flooding a threat across the entire state.
CBS 2's Christine Sloan reported that Christie is also considering mandatory evacuations and said that "from a flooding perspective, this could be a 100-year event."
"Anyone who has shore rentals or who are planning to go to the shore this weekend, do not go," he said.
1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports: Christie Says Irene Will Have Significant Impact On Garden State
The declaration cleared the way for the state to deploy resources like the National Guard to counties and municipalities as they prepare for the storm.
WCBS 880's Levon Putney With Gov. Christie In West Trenton
Christie added that the state's Office of Emergency Management was coordinating plans with each of the state's 21 counties as they mobilize emergency preparations at the county and local levels.
Long Beach Island got a preview of Irene Thursday, with lightning over the ocean and exposed homes. Coupled with slow going on the roads from too much water, many vacations were cut short.
"It's OK. We had a great week down here so it's all worth it. It's all relative," Patrick Mening of Pennsylvania told CBS 2's Sean Hennessey.
Mening is one of the many heeding the evacuation call along the Jersey Shore and barrier islands, with plans to leave Thursday night.
"It's a little nerve wracking. We're planning on leaving tomorrow to go home," said Eileen Goldress of Pennsylvania.
"We're thinking of heading out early. We know the hurricane is coming. Not a good idea to stay," said Andrew Cudmore of Princeton, Massachusetts.
Forecasters said that at the very least, tropical storm conditions along with four to eight inches of rain is possible when Irene hits the Tri-State.
"Much like everyone else, we're watching the storm very closely," JCP&L spokesman Ron Marano. "We're preparing to mobilize our resources from companies throughout First Energy to aid in restoring customers."
Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken, likewise, is urging residents to get out of town if they can, however, "If they're going to be here, they need to get prepared and have everything on hand, food and flashlight" she also said.
"We'll just leave a day early and we got a good week under our belt and we're OK with it," said Princeton, Massachusetts resident Jennifer Cudmore on Long Beach Island.
WARETOWN RESIDENTS STOCK UP ON SUPPLIES
They couldn't stock the water fast enough at the ShopRite in Waretown, New Jersey. It seems as though people were taking Gov. Christie's advice to stock up on five days worth of supplies.
1010 WINS' Terry Sheridan With Waretown Residents Stocking Up At The Grocery Store
"Everything is cleaned out. I never expected to see this many people in here," one woman told 1010 WINS' Terry Sheridan. "I came to pick up a couple things and just got all wrapped up in the hype I guess."
Besides water, bread was also flying off the shelves as were canned goods and pasta.
JERSEY SHORE BRACING FOR IRENE'S WRATH
The Jersey Shore may be the hardest hit and could have up to 80-mile-an-hour wind gusts. Some people are already noticing changes in the waves.
1010 WINS' John Montone reports: Vacations Cut Short In Belmar
"I think they're really big," said Taylor Franklin of Livingston. "Sort of shows me that maybe a hurricane is coming."
Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach is still open for business, but Irene is creeping up the coast.
WCBS 880's Sean Adams In Point Pleaset Beach
"Obviously, I think we're gonna have to do something Saturday and Sunday," said spokeswoman Mary Lou Halvorsen.
Halvorsen says they're getting ready by securing flags, banners and signs, boarding up eastern facing building and removing benches and umbrellas from the beach.
"They're working on securing some of the rides. Some of the taller rides I think they're gonna start taking some of those down because obviously that could be dangerous if pieces start flying off," she told WCBS 880's Sean Adams.
FLOODING CONCERNS IN PARTS OF GARDEN STATE
Meanwhile, officials in flood-prone areas of New Jersey are concerned about how much water Irene might dump on the Garden State.
New Jersey has already been hit hard by rain and flooding this year.
WCBS 880's Sean Adams In Manasquan: The Main Fear Is Flooding
In Pequannock Township, Manager David Hollberg says the reservoirs are almost full and that could lead to more flooding than usual.
Hollberg also wants Christie to open the Pompton Lake floodgates instead of waiting for an automated system that activates when water rises.
State Environmental Protection Department spokesman Larry Ragonese said officials are considering the potential impact of the request on the supply of potable water and the impact to rivers downstream.
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