NEW JERSEY — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a State of Emergency late Monday as Tropical Storm Isaias barreled up the coast.
The State of Emergency officially went into effect at 5 a.m. Tuesday as the one-time hurricane makes its way to the area.
Murphy held a news conference Tuesday morning on the state's preparations. Watch the briefing below.
Isaias could cause “hundreds of thousands” of power outages across the state if wind speeds pick up, the president of the Board of Public Utilities Joe Fiordaliso said.
If wind speeds reach above 40 mph, utility workers are unable to go up into bucket trucks to restore power which could prolong outage times.
“Let's hope that the wind does not get to the point that it’s detrimental to restoration efforts,” Fiordaliso said.
Isaias, which was downgraded back to a tropical storm early Tuesday after strengthening back to a hurricane Monday evening, is expected to bring heavy rains to the area with the potential to cause flooding, as well as strong winds and storm surge.
Murphy warned drivers to stay off the road during the stormy, severe conditions.
The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning Monday morning, "until further notice," across much of New York and New Jersey.
UPDATE: I am declaring a STATEWIDE STATE OF EMERGENCY for Hurricane Isaias effective at 5:00 AM on Tuesday, August 4, 2020:— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 4, 2020
☑Do not be on the roads unless absolutely necessary
☑If you MUST drive, take it slow, use caution, and leave extra time to get to your destination pic.twitter.com/mMDUJsPhal
Along the Jersey Shore in Sea Bright, which has taken its fair share of weather beatings over the years — including a knockout punch from Hurricane Sandy — there’s one eye on the socially-distanced outdoor dining crowd, and the other on the approaching storm.
Chris “Woody” Woods, owner of Woody’s along the strip in Sea Bright – said Monday he knows better than to take the forecast lightly. He just hopes it won't ruin what’s so far been a nice summer rebound for the entire town.
"There's not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to rising seas," he said, speaking from his restaurant which sits just about 100 yards from the ocean.
Further north in Hoboken, residents were also preparing, with a stark warning from the mayor.
"There is a very good chance that the floodwaters are literally going to total your car," said Mayor Ravinder Bhalla. "The effects of climate change are making these types of storms more regular than ever before."
Most of the area is under a tropical storm warning through Wednesday morning.
The National Hurricane Center expects Isaias to arrive in the tri-state area Tuesday.
Heavy rain and gusty winds will begin Tuesday morning and increase by the afternoon and into the evening.
Rainfall of between 2 and 4 inches, with locally higher amounts possible, is predicted for New York City, coastal New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut. Over western New Jersey and the interior Hudson Valley, 4 to 6 inches of rain are possible.
Coastal flooding will be possible during times of high tide Tuesday, before the system moves out of the area overnight into Wednesday.
Winds of 35 to 40 mph, with higher gusts near 50 to 60 mph, could cause damage to structures, bring down tress and power lines and cause outages.
Murphy reminded New Jersey residents Monday to avoid unnecessary travel and report power outages.
“There is the possibility for some trees to come down and power outages. If you experience a power outage, please call it in immediately to your electric utility,” Murphy said during a coronavirus briefing Monday. “Do not attempt to drive into any flood waters.”
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