Evacuation Nation: Voluntary Evacuation for Long Beach Island

The Voluntary Evacuation is an interesting construct.  Basically, a tool for governments to hedge their bets. Not enough to disrupt your life needlessly, but enough to say “I told you so” if Hurricane Sandy somehow decides to punch LBI in the face. I personally consider every trip across the Causeway to the Mud City Crab House or Target a Voluntary Evacuation of the the Island. Both Cape May & Brigantine are now under Mandatory Evacuation and other coastal towns may follow suit today.

Sandy appears weak at the moment. It’s hard, though not impossible, for a tropical cyclone to gain strength in the mid-atlantic. If you are planning to run, I would be less worried about finding shelter from a quick landfall event. This is probably not a “find a hotel room for the night” situation; it’s more of a “who’s house can I crash at next week if I have no power” evacuation situation.

Chose wisely. While LBI seems to always escape the worst blows of these system, North & Central Jersey always seem to take it on the chin with the worst of the flooding and power outages.  Based on recent history, there is a high probability that you may end up somewhere thinking “I would have been better off staying on the Island”.

Again, the problem with Sandy is not the Hurricane part. She’s already demoted to a Tropical Storm. The problem is that she might overstay her welcome and turn into a multi-day, beach eating Nor’easter.

In terms of preparedness I would be mostly concerned about assessing how many days I’d be comfortable without power. In the event of power troubles related to the Frankenstorm, Atlantic City Electric will have its hands full and your personal trials and tribulations while living in a house pummeled back into the stone age will be insignificant.

If you’re off the Island I’d guess the wind-storm part of the storm is nothing to fear (yet) if you already buckled up your sand castle for the winter. Rain based flooding will be an issue if the system lingers so be prepared for the dank smell of wet LBI basement.

As far as dune-breaching monster waves joining the bay and the sea, it seems doubtful. But say a little prayer for the already weak Holgate which could be dealt a death blow here if everything goes just wrong.