SOMERVILLE, NJ - A State of Emergency has been declared by Governor Murphy effective 5 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4 as Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to wallop New Jersey with several inches of rain and winds of 40-50 mph, with gusts upwards of 65 mph..

Do not be on the roads unless absolutely necessary, according to the governor. All State offices will be closed on Tuesday and only essential employees should report to work.

"If you must drive, take it slow, use caution and leave extra time to get to your destination", said the Governor in a tweet Monday evening.

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The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook and a Flash Flood Watch for Somerset County from 10 p,m, Aug. 3 through midnight Aug. 5. Tropical storm conditions are possible with heavy rainfall, they said. 

Somerset County departments and emergency-response agencies have been closely monitoring the progress of Tropical Storm Isaias and preparing for the high winds and heavy rain. Residents are encouraged to prepare to weather the storm by building or updating a to-go kit, having a family emergency plan in place, and staying informed.

“I encourage everyone in Somerset County to take time to prepare for Tropical Storm Isaias, and the possibility that it could significantly impact our homes and neighborhoods,” said Freeholder Director Shanel Robinson. “Thanks to COVID-19 we’re all very experienced in sheltering at home, and unfortunately we may be required to continue our efforts thanks to this possibly major weather event.”

The most severe aspects of the storm, including heavy rains and wind gusts will hit on Tuesday afternoon. There is a significant possibility of flooding and power outages in the area.

“We don’t know the severity of Tropical Storm Isaias yet, and so we have to be prepared for the worst but hope for the best,” said Freeholder Brian Gallagher, Emergency Management liaison. “I have every confidence in Somerset County’s responders and our residents, and know we can weather this storm together.”

Somerset County activated its Emergency Operations Center on Monday morning for Tropical Storm Isaias. The OEC includes staff from throughout the county government, and will coordinate Somerset County’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias with local, state, and national authorities.

“Somerset County’s response teams are some of the best in the state, and they are ready to respond to whatever Tropical Storm Isaias throws at us,” said Freeholder Melonie Marano, Public Works liaison. “But we residents need to do our part as well, and that means if an emergency is declared staying off the roads and protecting our families by sheltering in place.”

Residents are encouraged to be prepared to shelter in place for a minimum of three-days including gathering emergency supplies that include food and water, personal care items, an emergency kit, electronics and important documents. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, preparations should also include personal protective equipment, like masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. For households with pets, additional food and water should be included. Ready.gov is an excellent resource for building a to-go kit and preparing for a major storm.

Each member of a household should know and understand the hurricane plan. A proper plan includes knowing how to contact each other and reconnect if separated, including establishing a meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Households with pets should include preparations for them in a hurricane plan. Tips on preparing to weather an emergency with animals can be found at https://bit.ly/SCCART20.

In the event of flooding, residents should identify several places away from their neighborhood such as a family member’s or friend’s home in another town. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public shelters may not be available and should only be considered as a last resort.

Follow communication channels and emergency alerts to stay informed. Residents can sign up to receive Somerset County emergency alerts by visiting: www.co.somerset.nj.us/alerts. Other trusted sources include local municipal officials, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Preparedness (http://www.ready.nj.gov/) and FEMA (www.ready.gov). Outage maps and contact information for power utilities can be found at http://ready.nj.gov/plan-prepare/public-utilities.shtml.

Register Ready is New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters and is a valuable resource that allows individuals with disabilities and others who have special needs to provide information so emergency responders can better plan to serve residents during a disaster. To register, visit: http://bit.ly/NJRegisterReady2019 or call 2-1-1 for assistance.

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