Night has fallen on Avalon, New Jersey with a Hurricane Warning in effect for the Borough through Sunday. As of 9:00pm, the Borough was experiencing tropical storm-force winds, torrential rains, and some coastal flooding. During the high tide event on Saturday evening, there was spotty street flooding in the community with some flooded streets but no significant problems were reported. One electrical wire came down at 7th Street and Ocean Drive near the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge. Many lights were on in the Borough of Avalon at 8:00pm with no major power outages. Waves were breaking over the bulkhead on Ocean Drive heading to the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge. Very few vehicles were parked on any streets in the community. Access to Avalon has been completely cut off via Avalon Boulevard as a result of Hurricane Irene.
Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi, who also serves as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Borough, has been in constant contact with state and regional officials regarding the storm conditions in the community. Earlier in the day, Pagliughi had a personal conversation with Governor Chris Christie.
Avalon has established an evacuation shelter at Cumberland Regional High School in Bridgeton. Nearly 100 evacuees are at the shelter and many volunteers have stepped in to provide food and other comforts to the residents in the shelter. As of this evening, evacuations are over. Emergency management officials insist you stay at your current location.
The eye of Hurricane Irene continues to inch up the eastern seaboard of the United States. If the storm stays on its current path, the strongest winds and heaviest rainfall will take place during the overnight hours. The mandatory evacuation remains in place for the Borough of Avalon. Avalon officials want visitors and residents to know that access to the Borough of Avalon will only be permitted once emergency management officials have toured the community to make sure there are no major infrastructure issues. The worst of the storm as of Saturday at 9:00pm is still to come.
Avalon is also hosting a Philadelphia news crew. CBS3 in Philadelphia has two reporters and camera crews hosted at the Avalon Emergency Management Center on Dune Drive. The television crew will continue to ride out the storm with Avalon emergency management officials through the night into Sunday morning.
As of Saturday evening, a Tornado Warning was in effect for the extreme northeastern portion of Cape May County, about ten miles away from Avalon. A Tornado Warning was in effect for a larger portion of Atlantic County. The weather service also has several other warnings in effect.
Avalon Borough Website
ATLANTIC CITY ELECTRIC CONSIDERS “DE-ENERGIZING” BARRIER ISLANDS
Atlantic City Electric has initiated its Incident Response Plan regarding the effects of Hurricane Irene. In order to limit storm damage and ensure the safety of customers and emergency service personnel, the company may need to de-energize the transmission infrastructure in flooded communities.
Atlantic City Electric is working closely with local Emergency Management and key officials to discuss the potential for shutdowns. At this time, areas under consideration include the barrier islands in Cape May County and Ocean County as these areas, already evacuated, are expected to be hard hit by the storm.
There are two primary issues that Atlantic City Electric evaluates prior to de-energizing an area, water levels and the integrity of the company’s transmission infrastructure. Should equipment need to be de-energized, service restoration will be dependent on how quickly water recedes from the affected areas.
“While we do not plan to de-energize at this time, proactively de-energizing equipment would aid our crews in restoring service as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Vince Maione, Atlantic City Electric Region President. “By powering down these critical components, we could limit the damage to our equipment and reduce the amount of time necessary to restore service. If water reaches key electrical equipment that is energized, damage could be exponential and likely prolong restoration. The areas we’ve identified are currently under mandatory evacuations, so our hope is that customer impacts will be extremely limited,” said Maione “If this is done, restoration times after the storm should be reduced.”
The company is continuing to closely monitor the approach of Hurricane Irene. All available resources are scheduled to work extended hours and the assistance of additional personnel from other utilities and contractors has been secured. Crews will begin to assess damage and restore power as soon as conditions permit.
A LATER UPDATE TO COME………….