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Sandy Makes Landfall, Devastates Many Areas Of New Jersey

UPDATE: 12:54 a.m. October 30, 2012

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) --  Superstorm Sandy made landfall along the New Jersey coast Monday evening, leaving a path of destruction in many areas both on the shore and inland.

At least two deaths in New Jersey were linked to the storm. Authorities in Morris County said a man and a woman died after a tree fell on their pickup truck Monday evening in Mendham Township. Two children in the pickup were injured.

CBS 2's Derricke Dennis reported late Monday night that Point Pleasant Beach was devastated and left completely without power from the post-tropical storm. Borough officials advised nobody to go outside.

"We've experienced some very major, major flooding in Pleasant Beach. We have flooding like we've never seen before right now," said Kyle Grace of the Point Pleasant Beach Office of Emergency Management.

Grace said anyone who is trapped in a home will be rescued, and anyone not in town should stay away.

"We do not want any outsiders in town," he said. "It's going to hinder our operation, so I just ask people not to come to our town doing sightseeing."

At least two deaths in New Jersey were linked to the storm. Authorities in Morris County said a man and a woman died after a tree fell on their pickup truck Monday evening in Mendham Township. Two children in the pickup were injured.

Wind gusts up to 89 mph were reported in Surf City on Long Beach Island, and nearly 12 inches of rain had fallen in southern New Jersey's Wildwood Crest.

The storm weakened a bit after it hit land, but wind gusts of up to 85 mph were expected along the shore and in inland southern New Jersey until 9 a.m. Tuesday. In inland central and northern parts of the state, gusts of up to 75 mph were forecast. Flooding also remained a danger along the coast and in low-lying areas.

CBS 2's Lonnie Quinn said that the storm likely made landfall somewhere between Avalon and Atlantic City.

The storm turned hit the East Coast on Monday and flooded Atlantic City and other New Jersey shore towns, forced road closures, stranded residents who did not heed evacuation orders and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands.

In Colts Neck, WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported gusts strong enough to shake his car. Most of the power across the area is out.

WCBS 880's Jim Smith reports from Colts Neck


There is not much rain, but the wind is blowing the water sideways, Smith reported.

As of late Monday night, over 100,000 PSE&G customers were without power.  More than 871,000 JCP&L customers were also without power, mostly in Middletown Township and Tom's River and Brick Township.


"We're urging our customers to be prepared for the possibility lengthy outages, in some circumstances it could be seven days or more depending on the extent of the damage," PSE&G spokesperson Deann Muzikar said.

The utility has 1,000 workers and contractors standing by to help restore power outages. Crews will work around the clock until electricity is restored to customers.

Gov. Chris Christie warned people stranded on barrier islands that rescuers would not reach them until Tuesday morning and he blasted Atlantic City's mayor for encouraging people to stay in shelters rather than moving inland.

HURRICANE SANDY: Track | Forecast & Alerts | Areas Under Evacuation | Service Suspensions | Road Closures | Photo Gallery | Send Us Your Pics

"It shouldn't have been an option," the governor said.

Forecasters said the hurricane's center would come ashore in far southern New Jersey or central Delaware on Monday evening and bring 90 mph winds. Christie said the state seems to be lucky that the storm has sped up so that the worst winds will come before high tide. The storm is expected to merge with a winter storm later in the night.

"I have never seen so much water in the inlet,'' said Bob McDevitt, president of the main Atlantic City casino workers union and a lifelong Atlantic City resident, who was riding out the storm in his home. "When I think about how much water is already in the streets, and how much more is going to come with high tide tonight, this is going to be devastating."

Christie was hoping that low tide on Monday afternoon would give those who had not yet evacuated the state's barrier islands a chance to get out. In some places, they were stuck: By mid-afternoon, all three ways into and out of Ocean City were closed, and Atlantic City was cut off, meaning that those who had not left already were likely stuck for the duration of the storm.

"This is not a time to be a show-off, this is not a time to be stupid. This is the time to save yourself and your family," Christie said at a news conference.

Those who did not heed evacuation orders, he said, were putting themselves and rescue workers in harm's way, calling them "stupid and selfish."

Sandy was one component of what forecasters expected would become a massive storm over the eastern third of the U.S., with damaging winds, flooding and prolonged power outages. By late Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center said Sandy had strengthened with winds of 90 mph.

An evacuation order Sunday helped clear out Atlantic City and shut down casinos. The city's historic boardwalk remained mostly intact Monday, despite rising floodwaters and an old, 50-foot section at the north end that broke up and washed away. Officials instituted a 6 p.m. curfew.

"It looks like it's going to be worse than the storm of '62, which was monumental,'' said Willie Glass, Atlantic City's public safety director. "Saving lives and making sure everyone is safe is our priority.''

Roads were flooded, making it impossible for most people on the island to get off. City workers used boats to get people out of their homes and onto higher ground. Ambulances staged at the city's convention center were stranded there because the building was surrounded by water.

State Emergency Management spokeswoman Mary Goepfert said about 115,000 residents were ordered to evacuate the state's barrier islands, and local officials ordered many more in their towns. It was not known how many heeded the warning. She said more than 2,200 people were in shelters statewide.

Nearly 430,000 homes and businesses across New Jersey were without power Monday as the state braced for a storm surge expected to cause record-breaking flooding. The 129-mile stretch of the Garden State Parkway south of Long Beach Island in both directions and public transportation was shut down.

The state was under an emergency declaration, signed by President Barack Obama, that will allow New Jersey to request federal funding and other assistance and expedite repair work after the storm passes.

Every school in the state was closed Monday and the number deciding to close Tuesday grew to more than half the districts by Monday afternoon. State officials were also strongly suggesting that schools and colleges close Tuesday.

The center of the storm was expected to make landfall on Monday evening near Cape May, at New Jersey's southern tip.

Cape May antique shop owner Pete Wilson said water crept up 6 inches above the doorsill of his North End Garage shop and he felt certain he was going to suffer a big hit, despite his efforts to protect the property. His shop, located on the bayside of Cape May, serves many of the city's popular Victorian bed-and-breakfasts.

"I know there is water in there right now,'' he said after returning home in nearby Cape May Courthouse. "I am not too happy. I am just going to have to wait, and hopefully clean up."

Besides water coming through the front door, he also expects sewer backups that will overflow the toilet.

Wilson had taken a truckload of antiques out, including jewelry, books and furniture, and tried to elevate other furniture, but said he knew he would still have losses. "My jewelry cases are going to be toast,'' he said.

Flooding has become commonplace for residents of northern New Jersey river communities and they braced for another round. By midday, the Hudson River was overflowing its banks in Hoboken.

A curfew will be in effect for Hoboken beginning at 6 p.m. Monday until 1 p.m. Tuesday.  Hoboken has also issued a mandatory evacuation of all ground floor apartments as of midnight Sunday.

The city said two power lines were already downed at 2nd Street and Madison Street as well on 6th Street and Park Avenue due to strong wind.

In Jersey City, Mayor Jerramiah Healy issued a mandatory evacuation order for designated flood zones and low-lying regions. Residents in those areas are urged to relocate to higher ground or seek shelter with family and friends as soon as possible.

Clara Widdison, an exchange student from England who lives in Jersey City, joked about how she got ready for the storm.

"My preparation is I've put a bottle of vodka in the bathroom and a package of roasted cashews --- and a heart-shaped pillow,'' she said. "In England, we don't have these extreme types of weather, so that's why it's hard for us to take it seriously and it's all fun and games. But I have a feeling we're not going to be laughing in another three or four hours.''

A mandatory pedestrian curfew will be in effect for parts of Jersey City at 6 p.m. Monday through 1 p.m. Tuesday.

"We know that many residents have in the past gathered on the waterfront to look at the tides during storms. This storm is unlike any other we have faced," Healy said. "We will be enforcing this curfew to protect the safety of our residents."

The areas under the curfew include the entire expanse of Washington Blvd. east to the Hudson River, areas west of the State Highway 440 West to the Hackensack River between Communipaw Avenue and the Bayonne city line, and in Port Liberte and Country Village residential complexes.

1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg Reports From New Brunswick


Christie has ordered state offices closed again Tuesday. Non-essential employees were also given the day off Monday.

1010 WINS' John Montone reports from Jersey City


State Emergency Management spokeswoman Mary Goepfert said about 115,000 residents were ordered to evacuate the state's barrier islands, and local officials ordered many more in their towns. It was not known how many heeded the warning. Goepfert said more than 2,200 people were in shelters statewide.

Tree Down In Lodi, N.J.
Tree down at Main St & Ave C in Lodi, N.J. Oct. 29, 2012. No one was injured (credit: Rich Lamb/WCBS 880)

Christie said those who chose not to evacuate are now putting themselves and first responders in harm's way.

"I don't know whether we can get them out or not given the conditions," Christie said. "We're going to try but we're putting other people in harm's way too to get them out. So these decisions were both stupid and selfish."

Atlantic City Under Water Oct. 29, 2012
Atlantic City Under Water Oct. 29, 2012 (credit: Twitter)

Rising waters put most of Atlantic City, which has issued a curfew from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday, under water.

"The city's basically flooded," said Willie Glass, the city's public safety director. "Most of the city is under water.''

The same could be said of much of the southern New Jersey shore. The storm surge went over the sea wall in Cape May with high tide early Monday and punched through dunes in other communities.

The ocean has broken through the dunes on a portion of Long Beach Island, where evacuations are under way due to Hurricane Sandy.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has already closed the stretch of the Parkway from Exit 63 in Stafford Township to its southern terminus in Cape May.

Meanwhile, speed limits on the southern stretches of the New Jersey Turnpike were lowered to 45 mph. And motorcycles and car-pulled trailers were banned from the roadway.

Fire officials in Pleasantville reported at least two rescues from homes surrounded by water and two more rescues are under way.

(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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