TRENTON, N.J. — It appears that the impact of storm system Hermine will be less severe than originally feared, New Jersey officials said Sunday, but they urged residents against being lulled into a false sense of security about the storm’s potential.
The system spun away from the East Coast on Sunday, removing the threat of heavy rain. Forecasters say most areas will see an inch or less of rain from the system, but also noted that tropical storm-force winds could whip up on Labor Day. The state also remained under a tropical storm warning.
Speaking at a news conference in Morristown on Sunday, Gov. Chris Christie warned that minor to moderate flooding was still likely in coastal areas. He also said the storm was expected to cause major beach erosion, strong storm surges and dangerous rip currents even as it tracks eastward into the Atlantic.
Christie said he doesn’t expect any evacuations will be needed, assuming the storm continues to move eastward, but he urged residents and tourists to monitor things throughout the weekend.
“Don’t be lulled by the nice weather,” Christie said, referring to the bright sunny skies along the Jersey shore Sunday afternoon. “Don’t think that nothing is going to happen, because something is going to happen.”
Officials also noted that strong winds associated with the system could knock down trees and power lines, spurring outages.
Christie declared a state of emergency on Saturday for Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties, which will remain in effect at least through the holiday weekend. It activates the state’s emergency operations plan, broadens the powers of the state police — particularly for traffic control — and allows the National Guard to help with rescue or cleanup if necessary.
On Sunday, he said the declaration was about making sure the state was prepared in case the storm’s track shifted again and conditions worsened.
“Because it’s a holiday weekend, it would be more difficult to get National Guard members in because they’re staffing levels wouldn’t be as high as they normally would be,” Christie said. “This gives me the maximum amount of flexibility to respond to the storm as needed. It’s more about preparedness than anything else.”