The wind is raging, trees are falling on homes and cars, live power lines are dropping, and yet there are still people strolling and driving around on beaches and roads in Point Borough.
That has to end now, says Point Borough Mayor William Schroeder.
"There are way too many people out riding around and walking on the beaches," Schroeder said on at about 3:20 p.m. Monday, just after surveying the town. "Use caution please. The worst is yet to come."
At a Monday morning meeting of local government, emergency management and police officials at Borough Hall, Schroeder predicted that the early phases of the storm may make people think Sandy was more hype than hazard.
His prediction came to pass as the day wore on and the process of evacuating residents south of Bridge Avenue and in low-lying areas seemed to move far too slowly.
He said it seems that because the level of Barnegat Bay and its tributaries is low, not enough people are taking Sandy seriously.
"The evacuation is slow because the water level in the bay is low," Schroeder said. "The river is high and the canal is running fast. Therefore, the bay is going to rise. Over night into morning, the bay will rise to a dangerous level.
"This delay has some people fooled into a false sense of security," Schroeder said. "Be aware and be safe. So far trees are uprooted, sheared off and there are power lines falling. As the wind picks up, there will be more of the same. We are just beginning, there's another 14 hours to go and two full moon phases to go."
When asked for names of streets where trees are falling onto homes and cars, Schroeder said, "There are too many to name. But there are power lines down on Old Drift Road by the high school and on Bay Avenue by Old Farm Road."
At 5:03 p.m. Monday, Schroeder reported in an email: "The roof of Claremont Care (1515 Hulse Rd.) is coming off. We have had extensive talks with their director as to evacuation and the decision was the water will not reach a dangerous level there. But trees and wind would be their greatest concern."
There will be at least a partial evacuation of Claremont, Schroeder said.
"As the winds have increased, the danger of downed wires and trees have become a concern. A huge tree fell on the water plant on Hardenburgh Avenue. The tree has no effect on the operation, but caused damage just the same."
The photos attached to story shows a tree that fell Monday afternoon at Pacific and Cedar, in a neighborhood near the Manasquan River and its two local beaches. Neighbors report that the Borough fire department quickly responded to a call about the tree, cut it up with chainsaws and carted off the debris.
On his Facebook page, the mayor said: "We just did a survey of the town. The river is high, the bay is low, the canal is running fast. Most important, the wind is picking up breaking tree branches off, falling on cars and homes. The surge of the storm is coming. The water will rise, the creeks and lagoons will gain water and will last for a few days. Use caution please."
On Facebook, it seems the Borough experience with the early phase of Sandy is a mixed bag. Some residents still have power, some don't. Some are seeing trees falling down, others aren't.
But the worse is yet to come. The brunt of Sandy is expected to hit Atlantic or Cape May County early this evening, when meteorologists say, it will cease being a hurricane and will become a nor'easter, and then head west. But the full moon tonight, combined with Sandy's wind, rain and flooding that has already taken place, promises to create even more flooding and power outages.
UPDATE: A reader reported that there is a tree down on Herbertsville Road, just east of Riverwood Avenue in the Borough. The tree is across both lanes and the road is completely blocked.