In an announcement from members of the Howell administration, residents are being advised to heed all warnings as Hurricane Sandy arrives. As of 3 p.m. that included a full travel ban across the township.
Township Manager Helene Schlegel said the township is ready for the storm's arrival. "Our critical response team has taken every conceivable preparation to keep our residents safe," she said.
Office of Emergency Management Director Ron Sanasac said that while there is no travel ban in place "we do ask you to keep all travel to only that that is absolutely essential." He added, "Help us help you by keeping the roads clear."
Sanasac also reminded residents that there are three reception areas in the township that will take them to the county shelters in Wall and Long Branch. While there is no mandatory evacuation Sanasac said those residents who "experienced flooding or were threatened by Hurricane Irene should take extra precautions."
Transportation to the shelters will be provided by the county until they deem it no longer safe to make the trip. The Howell Police Department confirmed the last shuttles will leave for the shelters at 3 p.m. "The window to evacuate is closing quickly," he said. "We urge you that if this is your last resort to please get to one of the reception centers and please be safe."
Captain Robert Scott of the Howell Police Department said that as the storm gets closer it is important to keep the roads clear for emergency personnel. "If you need to get out to be safer obviously do that," he said. "However, we do not need the extra people on the road. As we get into the night hours we're expecting flooding and that's going to be an issue."
Deputy Mayor William Gotto said the town's preparation should help minimize the overall damage from the storm. "We've had similar events in the past and we've come through very well and that is what has helped us to be prepared in this event as well," he said. "It's essential that we all get through this together and that we don't put anyone in harm's way."
Gotto added that as a community the township will work through the storm. "Like we always do when we have these types of crises I would urge you all to take care of each other, take care of your neighbors, take care of your families and we'll get through this one just fine."
Residents with non-emergency storm questions and concerns are asked to call the Emergency Operations Center at 732-414-3239. Only emergency calls should be directed to the township's 911 operators.