CNN on the ground: Real Jersey shore in no hurry to evacuate; residents flee coast
August 26th, 2011
03:38 PM ET

CNN on the ground: Real Jersey shore in no hurry to evacuate; residents flee coast

Editor's Note: CNN has reporters up and down the East Coast to cover Hurricane Irene. We'll be providing updates throughout the day on the scenes they are coming across and the people they talk to.

[Updated 7:30 a.m. Saturday]

(WASHINGTON) The sun is peeking through on the National Mall in Washington. The city will resume passing out sandbags at noon. Yesterday they ran out of sandbags at 5 p.m. City residents can get five sandbags per household. For this storm, city officials are using Twitter to keep in touch with residents in addition to traditional media. Officials are using the hashtag #DCIrene on the microblogging site to get information out.

- CNN'S Eric Marrapodi

[Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET ]

(IN THE OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA) I've been feeling the storm escalate with every passing hour.  The rain is nonstop and the gale force winds are now gusting up to  tropical storm strength. This is a fraction of what's to come after dawn.  Authorities warn residents on the Outer Banks to heed the mandatory evacuation orders or risk the dangers of the storm alone.  Emergency personnel will not venture out into the storm because it's too risky.  Roads may be flooded or blocked for days after.  Everyone has been advised to be prepared to be on their own for at least 72 hours.

- CNN’s David Mattingly

[Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET ]

(SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY)  This is the place where they filmed the MTV reality show “Jersey Shore”.  I was at the casino pier, which is actually like a boardwalk similar to New York's Coney Island. People were out enjoying the beach, getting tans and surfing.

With temperatures about 85 degrees,  it was a really nice day to be at the beach here. I heard Governor Chris Christie telling people to get off the beaches, but it didn’t seem to stop the people. I was told by regular beach-goers that the crowds weren’t nearly as big today. It was noticeably not crowded but it wasn’t a ghost town either.

Talking to tourists, some said they came down to enjoy the weekend and that they felt like thir trip was being cut short. One guy said he had just got to his hotel and was told they were going to close so he couldn’t even check in.

- journalist Aaron Brodie 

[Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET ]

(KILL DEVIL HILLS, NORTH CAROLINA)  After boarding up their house, a family in Kill Devil Hills left a spray-painted message for the storm on one of the boarded-up windows of their home.  "Good Night, Irene," the message said.

A sign expresses the sentiments of residents in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

The Nags Head Fire and Rescue Department also had a message for the hurricane:  "Go Away, Irene," the message written on a bulletin board outside their building said.

A sign outside a building in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., is addressed to the storm.

We found a couple going for one last walk on the beach before the arrival of Irene.  We also found a family with two young boys flying kites there.

Drew Goulde, a Kill Devil Hills resident and a maintenance worker at the
local Ramada Inn hotel, was surfing, taking advantage of a higher-than-usual tide.

"It is fun," Goulde said.  "I'm just messing around right now.  It's kind of
heavy out there though."

He said he would have to return to work at the hotel as soon as the
hurricane makes landfall sometime on Saturday afternoon.

- CNN’s Rafael Romo

[Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET ]

(KILL DEVIL HILLS, NORTH CAROLINA)  We are on the beach.  The first outer rain is just beginning to reach us. The wind has slowly intensified, but nowhere near gale-force yet. No one is in the water, and the few people on the beach are being told not to swim.

The weather worsens at a beach in North Carolina.

I'm manning a beach camera with CNN's David Mattingly. The camera is visible at the top right, covered with a black trash bag (a preferred protection over conventional rain covers; it's more versatile). As conditions worsen, we will go to a hotel balcony overlook with drier conditions and will continue broadcasting into the night and for the duration.  We've stocked our work space with water and food (the least salty or sweet the better).

- CNN Cameraman Jay Schexnyder

[Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET ]

(STUMPY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA) Evacuating your home is never easy. And it gets a lot harder when you’re by yourself and have three toddlers in tow.

Kimberly Roehrig left her home in Stumpy Point, North Carolina. Her mom dropped her and her kids off at a specially designed county meeting point.

Here, she, Madison, 7, Faith 4, and 10-month-old Waylon would catch a county bus that will take her to a shelter off  North Carolina’s Outer Banks. She told us that she lives too close to the water.

“We boarded up, but we’re afraid it’s gonna flood,” she told CNN.

Kimberly Roehrig thinks the water may flood out her home, so she’s bringing her kids to a shelter.

“I don’t want to be there for a flood,” she said with a nervous smile.

Kimberly says she left her boyfriend behind to ride Hurricane Irene out in their home, along with their pets.

“I’m a little nervous, but as long as we have shelter, we’ll be ok,” she said.

- CNN's Rich Phillips

[Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET ]

(NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK) In a hurricane the higher you go, the stronger the wind gusts are. Construction workers have that in mind as they secure One World Trade Center in New York ahead of Irene’s arrival.

While the windows being installed on the soon-to-be tallest building in the U.S. are designed to withstand 125 mph winds they’re only in place up to the 52nd floor. Steel beams taking the place of the Twin Towers have risen to the 80th floor. The remaining upper floors are open to the elements.

Construction continues at the World Trade Center site.

That’s a serious concern because anything blown off a building from that height, even something as small as a bolt, can become a deadly projectile in a hurricane.

From now until 2 p.m. on Saturday - when all work is scheduled to be halted at the World Trade Center site - construction workers will be busy securing anything and everything.

“They are very big on safety here,” said Kelly Potts, an electrician working on One World Trade Center. “If anything is not tied down they will address it and fix it.”

She said anything loose is either being moved to lower floors or chained to steel beams.

“Loose boards, metal, anything that’s near the edge of the platform… they are going to make sure that it’s away from there and tied down.”

The construction cranes high atop the World Trade Center site will also be secured sometime Saturday. They are designed to withstand strong winds. Construction workers on the site are well aware how serious high winds are at a skyscraper under construction. While the Time Warner Center was being built a few years ago at Columbus Circle in New York a plywood board was blown off the building. It struck a man below killing him.

Listen to the full story here:

Get more CNN Radio Report podcasts on itunes or subscribe

- CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum

[Updated at 2:41 p.m.]

(ATLANTIC BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA) The car is packed. The house is secure.

Kim Raines and her adult son Chris Braxton are ready to leave their hometown of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, in search of higher ground.

"I haven't left in awhile," says Raines, "but this is the worse one [storm] I've ever heard of while I've been living around here so I am heading out."

Atlantic Beach is located on a barrier island and it is one of many cities in North Carolina that are under a mandatory evacuation order. That order made the decision to leave easy for Raines and her son. The difficult question came when they asked themselves what they should take with them.

"It's kind of hard going through the house and picking out stuff," Braxton said.

He remembers thinking "well what if it's not here. What do we want? What can we take with us that will fit in the car?"

It is especially difficult to decide when space is limited to that of their two door sedan. A car that would need to fit not just mom and son but also Tiny, their dog. In the end Raines and Braxton packed their most important possessions. Old family photographs. Raines was not going to leave behind baby pictures of her sons. Old pieces of art was another priority.

"Finger painting and middle school pictures," says Raines. To her they are invaluable sine the artists are Braxton and his older brother.

-  CNN Supervising Producer Kimberly Segal

[Updated at 12:37 p.m.]

(ATLANTIC CITY, NORTH CAROLINA) Three blocks from the ocean, in a mandatory evacuation area, stands a home that will be full of people when Irene comes to the coastal town of Atlantic City.

“I’ve lived on the same street for 46 years so I never leave,” says the homeowner Kendra Barrett.

Seven people will be riding out the storm with Barrett in her two-story home.

“We’ll start up upstairs and if it gets bad upstairs we’ll come downstairs,” she says adding, “But the foundation of this is concrete and the walls are cinder block.”

Kendra Barrett has decided that she and her family will ride out the storm in Atlantic City.

Instead of spending time preparing to evacuate Barrett was in her kitchen.

“I cooked all day yesterday,” she says, “I’ve got fried chicken, potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad bread, ice cream and about 10 bags of ice.”

Lindsey Dipersio, an anti-evacuee that will be staying with Barrett, also went shopping in order to shelter in place.  Aside from the usual hurricane supplies such as water, canned foods, Dipersio’s list included diapers and baby wipes.

Dipersio has two toddlers that will be riding out the storm on this barrier island, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Sound.

Barrett says she is comfortable with the children staying adding, “They really don’t have any place else to go unless they went to a shelter.”

-  CNN Supervising Producer Kimberly Segal

[Posted at 11:10 a.m. ET]

(ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY) It's a mad dash to the airport for Todd Milavec.

"Going to airport right now because I can't get through to anybody on the phone," Milavec said while jumping into a cab with his family.

Guests at Caesars Hotel & Casino head to the airport to escape Hurricane Irene.

Milavec's vacation at Caesars Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey,  has been cut short by Hurricane Irene.

Milavec is trying to get back to Detroit, Michigan, and says he will rent a car if he can't get a flight. Caesars has asked all its guests to leave the hotel on the famous boardwalk by noon Friday. Stan Bonilla isn't sure what he's in store for this weekend as he prepares to drive back to New York.

"Going to batten down the hatches on Long Island. There's a big one coming so going to get ready for it," Bonilla said while loading up his car at Caesars with his wife and toddler.

- CNN Senior Producer Eric Fiegel

soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Kathy Morse

    The 2011 Police and Fire Games are being held in New York right now – that's the second biggest athletic event in the world next to the Olympics .... what's happening with that?

    August 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Take it from a Texan and get out of Dodge City fast. I rode out hurricane Ike in 2007 in Houston and it was one of the most frightening nights I have ever spent. I remember feeling like Whoville in "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". All of the neighbors popped their heads out around the same time the following morning and it kinda felt like we were looking around to see what the Grinch had stolen. Trees were everywhere, including a giant pine in my neighbors upstairs bedroom. Property damage was unbelievable, but the few of us who stayed were still in a sort of shock the next morning as a result of what happened to us the night before and witnessing the grand scale destruction afterward.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle Mahood

      My brother in law just got to NYC to play in the games and we're to join him Monday if all goes well. Right now I understand that the games planned for Saturday after 2 and all day Sunday are canceled.

      Hope Irene weakens and leaves the coast alone....
      take care,

      August 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NY Yankees

    If you leave you'll miss the best looting. Pretned you're BoA & it's OK to loot.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • chuck

      However you will need a boat and some thick soled work boots to get that giant T.V. without getting it wet. I hope you have peroxide at home, because you are bound to get some cuts. Don't forget the paddle. You sure don't want to be up 5th avenue without a paddle.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. patsy

    Kendra Barrett says “I’ve got fried chicken, potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad bread, ice cream and about 10 bags of ice.”

    Can you say FOOD POISONING? The least of this family's worries but I think mayo and no refridgeration should be a concern. That ice will melt pretty fast this time of year.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • hb

      She sounds like she's getting ready for a picnic, not preparing for a hurricane. Idiot.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aretha

      Non perishables would have been a better choice. I got by for two days after Hurricane Katrina with Captain Crunch cereal.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      Patsy – Yeah... the egg salad fried chicken, etc. is probably not a good idea unless you eat it all within a day... two at the most. However, a hurricane veteran's trick is to take a half full gallon of water, freeze it and it will last in a cooler for a while. It takes longer for a huge chunk of ice to melt. You will have some nice cool water to drink and it won't leak precious water over the place. The frozen gallon jug o'water can also keep a fridge cool for a longer time too. Did that through several hurricanes and it kept the fridge cool in just enought time to grill everything that was in there up and eat. 😉

      August 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • norasusan

      Exactly what I was thinking...she's going to poison her entire family!! What a moron!!

      August 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marcus

    If you want to be that idiot that you are, stay but, do your children a favor and think of their well being.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jj


    August 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Demiricous

    If you stay you get no aid its bs that be the "Oh I thought I could ride it out now give me free stuff and fix my house for free and pay my medical bills. If I hear people complaining on the news about staying and then not getting aid fast enough or that the police were to violent during after math. I'm going to freak. Every year its like that. I feel really bad for the kids who have no choice but to stay with there parents. Don't give me the oh they have no place to go the goverment sets up relief sites all over for them.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HIH

    should i stay or should i go....look either have a hurricane party or get the hell out and have room service and a pool day inland these aren't tough choices.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kimball

    Not relevant to this situation, but I find it funny that the reporter called a 7 and 4 -year-olds "toddlers." And the 10-month-old is an infant, not a toddler.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tha Chikin

    Not sure why there is even a question about it. Guess lessons from Katrina are being totally unheeded.

    If there is an evacuation order in your area... LEAVE! Plain and simple. Don't try to stay... your belongings, even though they are hard to leave; are replaceable. You however, are not. People die in storms like this all the time.

    Please don’t forget about your pets!! Whenever there is a disaster, there is a huge amount of animals displaced (or killed) because they were left behind.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bon

    where can i hear the interview with the guy from fire island that was done just about an hour ago? Thanks!

    August 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mama2ESB

    We just cut our vacation in Duck, NC short and evacuated. Yes it stinks because our family was having a wonderful time and the beaches in the Outer Banks are gorgeous, but we're not stupid. The order started at 8am Thursday and we were out of there by 8:45. Whoever stayed is a fool!

    August 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michael

    you need to buy extra coolers and fill them with water bottles with frozen ice inside them as the "Ice Cubes." it keeps cool, lasts longer, and will have a bottle of water later.

    Also, stock up on canned stuff.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. joe


    August 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    I think anyone who chooses to ignore a mandatory evacuation order should be free to do so. Along with that, they should expect no emergency responder assistance until the emergency has passed, even if that results in their deaths.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff

    I will stay. You'll see this will be a non event.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
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