Christie Offers Resources To Help South Jersey Restoration Efforts [VIDEO]
Governor Christie has called on the New Jersey National Guard to bring in generators and cautions some people may not get their power back until the end of the week following a meeting with Atlantic County government officials.
A State of Emergency remains in effect in all of Atlantic County restricting travel following strong thunderstorms overnight that still finds 167,610 Atlantic City Electric customers in the dark.
Christie called the damage caused by the storms as "very significant" according to the Press of Atlantic City. Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson called it worse than that caused by Hurricane Irene last summer.
The Governor and Lt. Governor, Kim Guadagno, said their administration is "fully engaged" to facilitate the clean up. Christie said he has spoken to Verizon about bringing in tenporary cell phone towers and his Office Of Homeland Security commissioner about assisting with any evacuations that may be needed.
He said that area hospitals are fully operational and that the casinos are open. Christie walked a fine line between telling visitors to come down and being careful to allow work crews to do their jobs along the road.
The powerful storms, which featured heavy rain, lightning and strong winds that gusted as high as 60 mph, knocked down numerous trees and power lines throughout the region. Most lasted no more than a half hour.
Governor Chris Christie is holding a press conference at at the Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management in Egg Harbor Township to talk about the damage.
RESTORATION COULD TAKE "SEVERAL DAYS"
At 6PM there are almost 150,000 customers without power according to the Atlantic City Electric outage map. Atlantic County has the most customers in the dark with over 82,000. With 23,000 customers off line it's the second time in a week that Cumberland County has experienced a large number of outages. Gloucester County has 18,000 in the dark and 10,000 in Salem County are still without power.
In a statement on their website, the utility anticipates that full restoration of power could take "several days" as crews work to assess storm damage but they will work "round the clock" until all customers are restored.
"Atlantic City Electric will work to restore power by targeting critical electric facilities- such as substations and large power lines serving the largest number of customers¬-and critical facilities, such as hospitals, fire stations, water filtration plants and police stations." They also urge people to stay away from downed power lines and utility poles.
The County declared a state of emergency at 6AM Saturday morning. "Travel is restricted on Atlantic County roads to allow Emergency officials to assess damage from the overnight storm and to respond accordingly," according to a statement on the Atlantic County Public Safety website. "There are numerous power outages and downed trees and wires. Residents with damage should contact their local Office of Emergency Management. Power outages should be reported to the utility company by calling 1-800-833-7476.
An emergency hotline has been established to provide update - call 1-866-704-4636.
Six branches of the Atlantic County Library system are open for relief from the heat in Brigantine, Egg Harbor City, Galloway, Hammonton, Pleasantville, and Ventnor.
STILL COMING FOR RELIEF
Despite the problems in Atlantic County, people are still heading to the beach for relief from the heat according to the Press of Atlantic City which reports "lengthy delays" on the Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway.
New Jersey Transit tweets that bus service in Atlantic and Cape May counties could be delayed due to blocked street. The Atlantic City train line is subject to delays of up to 6o minutes.
Share your pictures of storm damage by uploading a photo below.