Officials from the Union County Office of Emergency Management have declared a Countywide State of Emergency as of 4 p.m., and are prohibiting all non-emergency travel after 8 p.m. until further notice.

The declaration allows County officials to potentially take emergency measures to maintain public safety, respond to calls, and protect residents and property during Hurricane Irene. The hurricane is expected to bring wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour or more during its peak early Sunday morning.

“We are urging residents to remain at home, and stay off the roads now and through any recovery phase until the travel ban is lifted,” said Public Safety Director Andrew Moran.

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Currently the City of Rahway has also declared a municipal State of Emergency, and the Township of Cranford has instituted a mandatory evacuation of its flood-prone areas only.

County Office of Emergency Management officials will be maintaining a watchful eye over conditions as they have activated their Emergency Operations Center in Westfield. Their efforts will involve coordination with municipal, state and federal officials, as well as any direct emergency response at the County level.

Residents are urged to remain alert and informed through their local news stations, and can go to for safety tips and any County emergency news during the storm. Also residents are urged to stay informed through Union County’s emergency notification system, Union County First Alert, and can sign up for instant notifications at