POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Jersey Shore residents are getting ready for Hurricane Sandy and the possibility that she will make a direct hit on The Garden State next week.
Boat owners pulled their vessels out of the water Friday, while workers removed the canopy from a boardwalk merry-go-round in Point Pleasant Beach. Boardwalk arcades were also sandbagged, CBS 2's Ann Mercogliano reported.
Atlantic City's casinos made contingency plans for possibly having to close, like they did last year when Tropical Storm Irene approached.
Forecasters were predicting Sandy would hook up with two other weather systems, bringing heavy rain, high winds and flooding to the East Coast.
The National Hurricane Center on Friday predicted the storm could pass over the Cape May-Delaware area Tuesday morning. But winds and rain are likely to extend for hundreds of miles, as far west as Ohio and West Virginia, according to the model.
Emergency management officials are pumping out Lake Como in Belmar, New Jersey -- a move residents hope will save their homes if Sandy hits hard, Mercogliano reported.
"It is a little scary for sure," said resident Martha Maselko. "I hope for the best."
Maselko lives on the lake. Her home flooded last year when Irene pummeled the Jersey Shore.
"Hopefully the storm is not going to hit till Tuesday," said Mike Campbell, Director of Public Works. "It give us a little bit of a break -- four days of pumping, we'll be that much more ahead."
Bulldozers were out on the beach in full force building the dunes that will hopefully shield the homes along the shoreline.
Last year, areas like Spring Lake, Belmar, Manasquan and Sea Girt all took a beating from Irene.
Residents like Mark Clemmensen hopes this storm forgets their address.
"I think we really need to be concerned, certainly," he said. "We're doing everything as a family to prepare."
Emergency management officials say they are prepared to evacuate if necessary and are adding extra resources throughout the weekend.
WCBS 880's Jim Smith: Manville Prepares
The Cape May County Emergency Management Office has issued voluntary evacuation orders for Friday and Saturday for the county's barrier islands. Those evacuation orders will become mandatory on Sunday.
Gov. Chris Christie Friday directed cabinet officials to mobilize preparations for a coordinated response to Hurricane Sandy.
"While Sandy's exact track is still uncertain, New Jersey has the potential to experience a major impact from high winds, heavy rain, flooding and power outages," said Christie. "That's why it's important from the state level on down to prepare in advance of this serious storm. The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management's Hurricane Survival Guide is available to residents online with important information about emergency preparedness. Now, ahead of any potential impact of Sandy, is the time for families to ensure they are prepared and are tuned in for the latest path of the storm for our coast. I encourage all of our families to stay informed, get ready, and reach out to those you know who may be isolated, or in need of extra assistance during adverse conditions."
Also, Monmouth University announced it will close early next week because of Hurricane Sandy. There will be no classes on the West Long Branch campus on Monday and Tuesday.
Dorms will remain open, but MU is advising students to leave until Wednesday because of the strong likelihood the campus will lose electricity.
Low-lying areas along rivers tend to flood during major storms, particularly in places like Manville, where the Raritan River routinely overflows its banks and inundates large parts of the town.
Ken Otrimski, Manville's emergency management director, said the town will activate its reverse 911 system Friday night, urging residents who live in low-lying areas to review their flood-preparation plans. Manville also was readying its six rescue boats.
"It's a waiting game now and we'll see what Mother Nature wants to deal us," Otrimski said.
Borough Administrator Gary Garwacke said flooding has become second nature there.
"I think we got it down pretty well pat," he told WCBS 880 reporter Jim Smith. "We obviously have our OEM office open, our police, fire, rescue squad are gearing up."
A shelter at the VFW is ready to go with food arrangements and a generator on standby.
Seemingly every year, this area gets washed out.
"Basically right now, we're telling people to prepare, take the weekend to prepare," he said.
He said the most important thing is for residents to evacuate when ordered.
WCBS 880's Levon Putney: River Towns Also Preparing
Inland, in Fairfield, people were going about their normal business on Friday.
But since it's right near the Passaic River and had major flooding when Irene hit, they're going to keep monitoring the situation.
Officials in Essex County have been in contact with the National Weather Service and state police OEM.
"The last that we got was that even if it wobbles, it's coming up the Delaware Bay and if it wobbles, it won't wobble that much," said Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, who is also the county's emergency management coordinator.
He said they have shelters ready and urged those in low-lying areas to consider evacuation.
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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