Essex County Codey Arena in West Orange will open as a relief center beginning Sunday 7 p.m. for residents during Hurricane Sandy, county officials announced.
Essex County and the American Red Cross will provide bedding and water those who lose power or need to reach a safe place during the storm, expected to make landfall in New Jersey late Monday. Accommodations for pets will be provided at Codey Arena.
All activities at the arena have been canceled and Essex County Turtle Back Zoo will be closed on Monday and Tuesday of next week. The Essex County Parks System will close park roadways beginning Sunday at 7 p.m. as a precautionary measure to protect motorists and pedestrians from fallen trees.
"Weather forecasters are predicting that New Jersey and Essex County will feel the effects of Hurricane Sandy beginning early Monday morning and our area will experience high winds and prolonged rain for two to three days," said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. in a press release. "We are asking our residents to be proactive and take steps to prepare their homes and keep their families safe during this storm."
The "super storm," a rare mix between a winter storm and hurricane, could be devastating when it reaches the East Coast, bringing powerful winds and heavy rain early next week.
The hurricane has reportedly left at least 41 people dead after slamming Thursday into the Caribbean.
Essex County Office of Emergency Management has been working closely with New Jersey State Police and municipal OEM coordinators to prepare for the storm, said county OEM Coordinator Sheriff Armando Fontoura.
DiVincenzo and Fontoura offered the following tips to residents:
- Have a three-day supply of canned, non-perishable food
- Have a three-day supply of bottled water
- Have a flashlight and radio, along with a supply of fresh batteries
- Have a stocked first aid kit
- Make sure you have enough prescription medications
- If you reside in a flood-prone area, have an evacuation plan
- Keep important papers in a secure, dry place
- Make sure your car has a full tank of gas