Gov. Christie and Irene: ‘Get the Hell off the Beaches,’ ‘Get Out of that High-Rise,’ and More.
You can’t say New Jersey Governor Chris Christie didn’t do his best to get all of the areas in the Garden State that were predicted to be affected by Hurricane Irene — or tropical storms, storm surges or even a tornado — evacuated.
Christie was very visible over the weekend, appearing on TV and his Web site and issuing statements to the media — and 600 residents in an Atlantic City high-rise who wouldn’t evacuate that city, which was under order of mandatory evacuation in the wake of Hurricane Irene’s approach up the East Coast Saturday, Aug. 27 — to update the public on various issues related to the anticipated storm. Christie also appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday where he said that flooding was a big concern —inland mainly — as well as the half a million people without power, the people in shelters and the 200-plus road closures across the state.
On the show, Christie said his main goal with the mandatory evacuation was to save human lives.[/youtube]
Although Christie mistakenly said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon that a firefighter had died due to injuries incurred during a water rescue effort in Princeton — his press secretary blames the State Police for the wrong information — the governor couldn’t have done more to get the message across, right up until the last minute, that Irene was coming, she was serious and a mandatory evacuation was in effect for several parts of the state, including all of Cape May County and areas near the southern coast of the Jersey shore in Atlantic County, including Atlantic City and many towns east of Route 9.
(Ironically, early Sunday afternoon, strong winds knocked down branches, trees and live electric wires WEST of Route 9 in Somers Point. Some power outages were reported.)
You never know how many lives Christie did actually save, but considering the damage being initially reported in the aftermath of Irene, and the flooding that continues — and that may continue until Tuesday — as well as the potential for even more serious damage and lives lost if the Category 1 storm hadn’t weakened or its path had been a little closer to affecting the Jersey shore as it eventually did in other parts of the country, Christie made a good call in evacuating the southern coastal towns. He was right to try and convince those who wouldn’t or couldn’t leave areas under mandatory evacuation to do so — even if they stayed put and were fine come Sunday morning.
Although an unimaginable amount of money was lost in the state and in the Northeastern U.S. — “billions of dollars,” in damage in New Jersey alone, says Christie, not to mention the lost revenue at summer tourist spots from Cape May north to Sandy Hook.
Atlantic City’s casinos certainly took a hit.