With Hurricane Joaquin moving up the east coast and the storm track still uncertain, Union County wants residents to be prepared for stormy weather. The latest weather reports place New Jersey in the center of the projected track for Joaquin, which stretches from Rhode Island to North Carolina. According to the latest estimates, Joaquin could potentially reach New Jersey late Monday.
“Union County will likely experience some heavy rain and wind throughout the weekend leading up to next week,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “Please take this opportunity to check how prepared you are for severe weather events as the hurricane season affects our area.”
Since being impacted by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2010, Union County has experienced a string of damaging weather events including Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Emergency experts recommend that every household and business be prepared to spend at least three days without power or access to local grocery stores and other services.
That includes keeping a first aid kit and a supply of non-perishable food and bottled water on hand, the county said in a release. Flashlights and other emergency equipment should also be stored in an easily accessible area, and should be checked regularly to make sure they are working properly.
For vehicle owners, preparedness also includes responding to emergency guidance such as topping off gas tanks ahead of a storm and avoiding non-essential travel during recovery.
As part of their emergency preparedness measures, residents and businesses should also check their property and secure lightweight yard furniture, trash cans, toys, and other items that could create windblown hazards.
In addition, Gov. Chris Christie issued a state of emergency Thursday, which empowers the state director of emergency management and county governments to coordinate efforts to cope with the storm.
While the track of Hurricane Joaquin is uncertain, a large storm is expected to precede the hurricane. Flood watches are already in effect for some areas of southern New Jersey as a result of that storm which is expected to drop multiple inches of rain on Friday and Saturday.
For tips and resources on emergency preparation in Union County, visit ucnj.org/prepare.
Additional guidance on preparing for hurricanes is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency at ready.gov.
“The most crucial thing to do is to stay informed in the lead-up to an extreme weather event, and follow the guidance of local emergency officials,” Jalloh noted. “Your preparedness will enable first responders to focus on helping those in immediate need.”
To receive alerts on cell phones and other mobile devices, residents can join the Union County First Alert system by signing up online at ucfirstalert.org.
“When you receive an alert, follow up by tuning in to your local news reports. You can also bookmark the home page of the Union County website, ucnj.org, where information and updates will be posted,” said Jalloh.
Information on the progress of Hurricane Joaquin is available from the National Hurricane Center at nhc.noaa.gov.