Update: Monday, 3:55 p.m.
The Municipalities of Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Mountainside have all declared state of emergencies.
The County of Union has declared a State of Emergency from 6 p.m. tonight to 6 p.m. tomorrow night. All County buildings and offices will be closed and only essential personnel and emergency responders will be required to report to work.
The Union County Superior Court and Vicinage will also be closed tomorrow due to the hurricane.
In addition to New Providence, Berkeley Heights and Mountainside, the following muncipalities have also declared states of emergencies:
- Scotch Plains
- Roselle Park
Update: Monday, 1:50 p.m.
An announcement from the New Providence Office of Emergency Management:
The canned and bagged leaf and brush pickup scheduled for today has been rescheduled to Wednesday.
The garbage pickup scheduled for Tuesday has also been rescheduled to Wednesday.
From the Office of the Governor:
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority will close the Garden State Parkway in both directions south of Interchange 129 in Woodbridge Township as of 4 p.m. Monday.
The southern portion of the Parkway, from Cape May to Interchange 63 in Stafford Township, has been closed since early this afternoon. The additional 66 miles are being closed because of deteriorating conditions caused by Hurricane Sandy.
On the New Jersey Turnpike, the speed limit has been reduced to 45 mph in both directions between the Delaware Memorial Bridge and Interchange 12 in Carteret. Motorcycles and car-pulled trailers have been banned on the full-length of the Turnpike.
Drivers should expect other significant closures and travel restrictions as the storm progresses.
All unnecessary travel should be avoided, but drivers who must travel should check www.511.com for up-to-the-minute information on travel conditions and road closures.
Update: Monday, 12:35 p.m.
During Gov. Chris Christie's press conference this afternoon, he announced that anyone looking for a local shelter can visit www.nj211.org or call 2-1-1, ext. 50, to speak with a representative who can find you a local shelter.
Here are the local shelters we know about right now:
- Columbia Middle School, 345 Plainfield Ave. in Berkeley Heights
- New Providence Municipal Center 360 Elkwood Dr. in New Providence
- Mountainside Borough Hall, 1385 U.S. Highway 22 East in Mountainside
- Regional Shelter, Union County Medical Reserve Corps, Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Ave. in Cranford. [Note: The shelter is accepting pets.Hhowever, owners must bring crates for animals, food, and litter and any waste disposal bags, etc. for their pets. If animals pose a threat they will have to be removed. Limited food and water are available for people. No medications will be available. Those in need of the shelter are advised to bring their own medications, any personal hygiene items, etc.]
- Regional Special Needs/Functional Needs Shelter, Woodbridge Community Center, 600 Main Street in Woodbridge. The center is located near Woodbridge Center.
Update: Monday, 11:28 a.m.
Here are updates from the Suburban Chamber of Commerce (the first edition is printed below):
Sandy continues on course, moving a bit faster than expected (which may be good news for the tidal areas). Here's the latest that we've learned since 6 a.m. this morning.
BERKELEY HEIGHTS TOWN HALL IS CLOSED
JCP&L POWER OUTAGES
The Jersey Central Power and Light Website currently reports 644 customers without service in Summit. No outages are being reported for New Providence or Berkeley Heights at this writing.
UNION COUNTY ADVISES THAT THEIR MEALS ON WHEELS home delivery has been suspended for today, Oct. 29 and tomorrow, Oct. 30.
Due to the impending storm, SAGE Eldercare will not offer any client services on Monday, Oct. 29, with the exception of HomeCare, which will operate on a case-by-case basis. For questions regarding HomeCare, call 908.347.1539. Spend-A-Day is closed to clients; There will be no Meals On Wheels deliveries; The Resale Shop and Furniture Restoration Workshop are closed; All seminars and workshops are postponed.
SUMMIT TRASH COLLECTION IS TAKING PLACE TODAY (MONDAY). A DECISION WILL BE MADE TUESDAY MORNING BASED UPON CONDITIONS FOR TUESDAY PICKUPS.
WATER IS ANOTHER IMPORTANT SUBJECT. HERE'S THE LATEST FROM NJ AMERICAN WATER —
New Jersey American Water has spent the last several days making preparations to help ensure continuous service to our customers. We have tested and topped off all generators, and as of 8 a.m. this morning, opened our 24/7 Emergency Operations Center located at our headquarters in Voorhees. Additionally, we have provided staffing assistance to local OEM offices in Atlantic, Monmouth and Somerset Counties. As of this morning, our operations are running at normal levels. I will keep you updated via email if this status changes in your area.
I also encourage you to "like" us on Facebook. Our Facebook page is being monitored, updated, and replied to on a continuous basis.
Finally, if you receive reports of residents not having water service, please have them call our Service Center at 1 800-652-6987.
Manager, Government Affairs
WHILE PSE&G IS NOT OUR POWER COMPANY IN OUR CORE AREA, THEY MAY BE YOUR POWER COMPANY AT HOME. SO WE PASS ALONG THIS UPDATE FROM THEM —
Below is a storm update from PSE&G as we monitor the track of Hurricane Sandy:
-- The massive "storm on steroids" as depicted by forecasters is expected to bring heavy rain, strong sustained winds and flooding to our service territory as early as late Sunday with the full brunt of the storm hitting the area Monday afternoon into Tuesday.
-- PSE&G is advising customers that based on the current forecasts, between 500,000 and 1 million of the utility's 2.2 million electric customers could experience a power outage as a result of the damaging winds and heavy rain.
-- PSE&G crews will be ready to respond to outages as soon as the heavy winds subside and it is safe to work in bucket trucks and other equipment. Depending on conditions and the extent of damage, full restoration could take more than 7 days.
-- To aid in restoration, about 1,000 utility workers and contractors will begin arriving tomorrow from states that include Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri and Quebec, Canada. PSE&G is working to secure additional resources that may be needed depending on the amount of damage and outages.
-- Crews work around the clock to repair equipment and restore power. The utility's call center also will be fully staffed on a 24-hour basis to handle calls from customers. Other employees will assist with assessing storm damage, keeping the public away from any downed power lines and other functions that support restoration efforts.
Storm response improvements:
Since Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm in 2011, PSE&G has made additional investments in our electric delivery system to help withstand storms.
· Replaced older 26,000-volt lines with lines capable of carrying 69,000 volts. These lines provide greater protection against lightning strikes and can better withstand wind and rain.
· Spent $28 million pruning trees away from power lines.
· Tightened coordination with county Offices of Emergency Management to ensure that public officials have the latest information on outages and restoration progress.
· Made a number of improvements to our automated call answering systems.
Customer safety and preparedness tips:
-- It's wise to have an emergency kit on hand year round. Here are some things to include:
- A battery powered radio.
- A corded telephone (cordless phones will not work if the power is out)
- Flashlights and extra fresh batteries.
- A first-aid kit.
- Bottled water and an adequate supply of non-perishable food.
- A non-electric can opener.
- Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
-- Stay away from downed power lines. To report downed wires or power outages, call PSE&G's Customer Service line at 1-800-436-PSEG. PSE&G uses an automated system to handle customer calls as efficiently as possible. Customers who get an automated response when calling PSE&G are encouraged to use it, as it is designed to route their calls to the right destination quickly. The system also provides the option to speak directly to a customer service representative. If you have specific information regarding damage to wires, transformers or poles, we ask that you speak with a representative to provide that information.
-- Customers with a handheld device, or who are at an alternate location with power, can also report power outages and view the status of their outage by logging in to My Account at pseg.com. General outage activity throughout our service territory is available online at www.pseg.com/outagecenter and updates are posted on pseg.com during severe weather.
-- PSE&G will activate its Twitter page to keep the public informed about our restoration progress. Sign up as a follower at http://twitter.com/psegdelivers to monitor restoration progress.
Regional Public Affairs Manager —Union, Somerset & Hunterdon Counties
AND YES... STARBUCKS IS CLOSED! BUT FIORINO'S IS OPEN, AS IS THE SUMMIT DINNER AND MANY LOCAL ESTABLISHMENTS!
Update: Monday, 11:15 a.m.
From the County of Union:
The Union County Medical Reserve Corps has been activated to staff a regional shelter at the Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Ave, Cranford 07016.
The shelter is accepting pets, however, owners must bring crates for animals, food, and litter and any waste disposal bags, etc for their pets. If animals pose a threat they will have to be removed.
Limited food and water are available for people.
No medications will be available. Those in need of the shelter are advised to bring their own medications, any personal hygiene items, etc.
Also, a regional Special Needs/Functional Needs Shelter is located (Middlesex County) at:
Woodbridge Community Center
600 Main Street
The center is located near Woodbridge Center.
From the Friends of the New Providence Library:
The New Providence Memorial Library is CLOSED due to the storm. Check the Library’s website at www.newprovidencelibrary.org or call 908-665-0311 before coming to the Library. The Tuesday Movie for October 30th, The Lucky One (2012), will be rescheduled. We will let you know the new date in a future email. The Wednesday Morning LECTURE ON THE MIDDLE EAST is canceled for this week. It may be rescheduled at a later date. The remaining dates for the series are Nov. 7th and 28th, at 9:30 am.
Original Story — Monday, 9 a.m.
Hurricane Sandy was packing sustained winds of 85 m.p.h. early Monday morning as it drew closer to what forecasters predicted would be a direct hit on the New Jersey coast.
A forecast released at 5 a.m. Monday indicated the storm had gained strength as it tracked closer to the New Jersey shore coastline.
By 2 a.m. Monday, sustained winds had reached tropical storm force in Tuckerton, NJ in Ocean County.
The NWS office said in a statement issued early Monday morning that the strongest winds and highest seas from Sandy would come Monday afternoon and Monday night. Wind gusts in upwards of 80 m.p.h were forecast.
From Summit Medical Group:
All Summit Medical Group locations will close at 10:00 AM on Monday, October 29. Any patient on site at 10:00 AM will be seen.
All Summit Medical Group locations will be closed on Tuesday, October 30.
Our next update regarding our hours of operation for Wednesday, October 31 will between 5:00 PM - 7:00PM on Tuesday.
Please continue checking our website, www.summitmedicalgroup.com. Call our main number at 908-273-4300, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
Here, important local information from the Suburban Chamber of Commerce, which serves the communities of Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Summit:
Preparedness is important. The American Red Cross has some great information on its website on storm preparation - www.redcross.org . Also, if you have a smart phone, download the Hurricane App from either Google Play or the Apple Store. It will keep you up to date.
The state website is also a good source for information - http://ready.nj.gov/
Some local Closings and Event cancellations:
The City of Summit, the Borough of New Providence offices are closed on Monday.
Schools in Summit Berkeley Heights and New Providence are closed Monday and Tuesday. Berkeley Heights further reports .... That to prevent any damage due to power outages, PowerSchool and FirstClass will be turned off gracefully at midnight.
The Summit Area YMCA - all branches - will be closed on Monday.
Union County reports that Para-transit services are cancelled for Monday and Tuesday. Union County Superior Court and Vicinage are closed on Monday. Watchung Stables and the Trailside Nature and Science Center will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. Watch Stable boarders are encouraged to stay at home. Staff will take care of all school and boarder horses.
All county Golf facilities are closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Congregate meal delivery has been suspended for Monday. A decision on home deliveries will not be made until Monday morning. Check the county website it this effects you or a family member.
Union County College is closed on Monday.
From Jersey Central Power and Light ... JCP&L continues our preparation plans for Hurricane Sandy, Key points in preparation are:
- Individuals should prepare for the possibility of outages lasting 7 to 10 days
- High winds could prolong restoration efforts
- Critical care and well water customers should review their individual and local emergency plans for this event
- JCP&L will coordinate priorities through the County Offices of Emergency Management
- Your Area Manager is always available to you. Additional communications support will aid the local Area Managers throughout this event.
- Customers must report outages for JCP&L to know they are out of power Reporting a power outage: (888) 544-4877 (888-LIGHTSS)
- Customer Service: (800) 662-3115
- Follow us on: Twitter: @JCP_L and Facebook: www.facebook.com/JCPandL
- 24/7 Power Center outages: www.jcp-l.com
- Web Site: www.firstenergycorp.com
From Berkeley Heights Mayor Joe Bruno ... I just got off of a conference call with the Governor's office. Here is the latest information and advice:
- The storm is heading our way and it is estimated that it will make landfall Monday night in Ocean or Atlantic County, but we will feel the impact.
- The entire State is under a flood watch with 5"-10" of rain expected.
- There is a High Wind Warning in effect for all of Monday into Tuesday morning. With sustained winds of 34-45 miles per hour and gusts of 55-65 miles per hour.
- With the rain and the wind, power outages are expected as trees and limbs fall.
- Local flooding may occur.
- During the height of the storm please stay in your home and off the street so emergency vehicles and utility trucks may pass through uninhibited.
- If you are in a area that is prone to flooding, I ask that you make your contingency plans now to evacuate and stay with family and or friends.
- If needed, our local shelter will be at Columbia Middle School on Plainfield Ave.
- If you are without power and need to charge your phone and or laptop you may do so at Town Hall, providing we have power.
- For current information here are a few websites that should have handy: NJ State Site www.ready.nj.gov , County Site and to sign up for alert updates from both the County and Township www.ucfirstalert.org and of course we will post updates on the Township website at www.berkeleyheightstwp.com
- If you lose power call JCP&L at 1-888-544-4877 and report it. Don't assume that they know, by calling it will be registered.
- The Regular Police Number is 908 464-1111. PLEASE ONLY USE 911 FOR AN EMERGENCY.
If you should lose power contact JCP&L by calling 888-544-4877 (1-888-LIGHTSS) or at the 24/7 Power Center at outages at www.jcp-l.com. The 24/7 Power Center features a dynamic on-line map that delivers fast and accurate outage information to desktops, smart phones and mobile devices. If you should need to power up your phone or computer Please feel free to come to Town Hall where we and charge up. Please review the alerts on UC First Alert or monitor the NOAA website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov or the National Weather Service at http://www.weather.gov/nyc.
SUMMIT EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS: Summit has established a Code Red System. This is available to business people as well. Here are the details. The City of Summit has the ability to notify its citizens about emergencies in Summit for severe storms, power outages, water main breaks, etc. In order to receive these important messages, you must sign up at CodeRED ™ offered by Emergency Communications Network. You may choose how to receive your messages via voicemail, text or email. Sign-up is easy and simple. Don't hesitate, sign-up today. Stay informed at home or on-the-go. The link is the bottom right of the City's homepage at www.cityofsummit.org.
NEW PROVIDENCE CODE RED: New Providence also has Code Red available for businesses. If you are not signed up, please do so on their website ... www.newprov.org
See BERKELEY HEIGHTS MAYOR JOE BRUNO'S MESSAGE (ABOVE) TO SIGN UP FOR THEIR FIRST ALERT NOTIFICATIONS.