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SEND PHOTOS: 300-Acre Berkeley Brush Fire

UPDATE: Irene Arrives at the Jersey Shore; Power Outages Reported

Many local residents evacuate, others stay to check out the wrath of Hurricane Irene.

The Jersey Shore started to feel the heavy impact of Hurricane Irene Saturday night and Sunday morning as strong wind gusts and driving rains became more frequent, causing slick roads, poor visibility and plenty of reasons to find shelter.

Tornado warnings were issued across southern and central Ocean County, sending residents to their basements or any shelter they could find.

Moments after the warning blared across the Emergency Alert System, a stillness filled the air, and the wind - which had been ever-present since the afternoon - disappeared.

"The dead stillness of the air after six hours of wind was just eerie," Robert Fastow of Lacey said via Facebook.

The warnings for Ocean County remained in place until 11:45 p.m., according to the Emergency Alert System, which broadcast the warnings.

According to Jersey Central Power & Light, major outages were reported in Neptune, Howell and Manahawkin and Toms River, and spokesman Ron Morano said the power loses would likely continue as the storm gets closer. By 2:40 a.m., JCP&L was reporting nearly 50,000 customers were without power in Monmouth County and nearly 22,000 were dark in Ocean.

A spokesman for Atlantic City Electric said that as of midnight, the company has more than 100,000 customers without power in its service area, including more than 12,000 in Ocean County.

The utility’s infrastructure has received heavy hits from the storm so far, said Arthur Garcia. 

The company may need to power down the grid on the barrier islands in Atlantic and Ocean counties to prevent further damage.

“If the water reaches the key electrical equipment, we’ll go ahead and shut it down,” he said.

What began as on-and-off rain showers during the day Saturday turned more wicked by sunset.

The wind howled on the boardwalk, downing palm trees placed on Jenkinson's Beach during calmer times. A few miles downshore in Seaside Heights, the front edge of Hurricane Irene's storm surge caused waves to inch closer to the boardwalk before finally breaking the barrier and breaching under.

In Brick, heavy rains caused some minor flooding in the Shore Acres section, and tree branches hung low on Princeton Avenue. Electronic signs at the foot of the Mantoloking Bridge Barnegat Bay to Route 35.

On Brick's portion of the barrier island, a sign outside Used to Be's bar advertised a hurricane party, but the establishment was closed, a victim of the mandatory evacuation order from Friday night.

Few stores were open. Even 24 hour standbys such as Wawa and 7-Eleven were closed and, in some cases, boarded and taped up.

Many homes were also dark, especially in Point Pleasant Beach, Bay Head and neighborhoods close to the water. Many residents flocked to county-run shelters in Toms River and Manahawkin.

So many, in fact, that the main shelter at Toms River North High School was . A second shelter opened at Toms River Intermediate School North. In Barnegat, residents from as far away as Atlantic City at that township's high school, which was also being used as a shelter.

The Manasquan River was beginning to slightly overflow its banks as high tide approached Saturday night. Residents in Point Pleasant Boro and Beach moved their cars to higher grounds on various residential streets.

In Brick, a marina parking lot on Princeton Avenue served as a makeshift community lot.

But for some locals, the excitement of Hurricane Irene was too much to contain at home.

Brendan Hart and his son, Devin, came to the Maryland Avenue beach in Point Beach to catch a glimpse of the high surf. The Harts, from Point Boro, said they made the trip to the beach because they thought the hurricane would be "exciting."

"I never thought about leaving," Brendan Hart said, as his already-matted hair got ever more soaked from the rain. "I wouldn't miss this for the world."

Daniel Nee (Editor) August 28, 2011 at 03:31 AM
On here too in Herbertsville. We had a couple flickers but are standing strong, ha.
Scott Pezarras August 28, 2011 at 03:35 AM
Power outages reported in Midstreams, off emberly road, and cedarcroft section. Some areas on and off again.
51merc August 28, 2011 at 03:42 AM
power still on here at Windsor Ave, a bit surprised since we're usually the first to go off
. August 28, 2011 at 04:08 AM
I am not relying on anyone. I am just saying why should people from Atlantic City have to travel to Toms River for shelter. Shelters should be close to where people live so that they when they leave the shelter, they can come back if God forbid, they need to.
. August 28, 2011 at 04:10 AM
Power still on here in the Bell Crest section. Just took the dogs out and the wind and rain were pretty light for those few minutes.
Silver dollar August 28, 2011 at 04:29 AM
Power still on here at the shark finns inn forked river rt 9 by power plant
Mark August 28, 2011 at 04:35 AM
i agree never rely on GOV...but they still want all your money.
Bayville Resident August 28, 2011 at 05:48 AM
power still on on Butternut lane...
Helen August 28, 2011 at 06:12 AM
Also agree never rely on Gov., The Gov. is the people that we elect. All need to be replaced unless they agree w/ smaller less intrusive govt.. That would mean most need to GO!! Vote them out. Especially the one occupying our White House.
GMA August 28, 2011 at 10:26 AM
Thank God we still have power in the Bay Harbor Section,winds are really whipping up again.I pray we never have to go through this "again"!! Please everyone keep safe.
Stacey August 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM
I agree! I think the main problem is that most of the schools & churches don't have backup generators?
pete August 28, 2011 at 11:37 AM
power on in point pleasant boro north of the canal at 7;30 AM
HeidiBeth August 28, 2011 at 12:24 PM
Power outage in Bayville in Glen Cove Area... from at least Sandlewood to Magnolia... the marsh by Berkeley Island Park is also flooded over.
GaryR August 28, 2011 at 12:47 PM
CNN & MSNBC as well. They try to incite panic when cooler heads should prevail. The Weather Channel goes a bit overboard at times, but their intent is to err on the side of caution. Great job Patch...keep up the good work
Karen August 28, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Luckily the only damage here in Beachwood so far is leaves, other than their color it looks like fall came early, the green leaves cover the street and lawns and don't even wanna look in my poor pool. But if this is all we get I'm thrilled.
Christine Johnson August 28, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Baywood section is just getting the next high tide (11:12am)..... water going over the docks on Navarra and Alameda. Roads will be flooding soon. Hopefully it will not get much worse.
Jo August 28, 2011 at 01:13 PM
Does anyone know how things are at the end of Princeton Ave near the bay? It's where the Beaver Dam and Metedeconk meet.
Kevin Hughes August 28, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Cherry Quay off Drum Point Road faired pretty well. Lots of high winds during the night, tree limbs down, leaves everywhere! Not to mention 2-3" of water in our yard. But no loss of power and looks like the sun is even coming out now!
pete August 28, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Forsbergs boat works has about a foot and half of water over the docks...beaver dam road is flooded along Arnold boat basin ....water is still rushing in the canal ....high tide at beaver dam creek entrance is at about 10:00AM
Leslie August 28, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Thank you to all the emergency personnel for working to help keep everyone safe, maintain order, and helping to keep our discomfort during the storm minimal. Although I don't agree with Christie and his style, he handled this one well. Berkeley Township great work on the evacuation and keeping everyone updated. Berkeley Patch good work, News 12 I am now a fan.
dfc4385 August 28, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Long Beach Island and Atlantic City evacuated - how could there be shelters in those areas? A shelter is not just a building. Emergency shelters needed to meet approval by the Red Cross or emergency management. If a church set up an unauthorized shelter, they would be subject to insurance regulations.
dfc4385 August 28, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Get real! A shelter is just that - a shelter. So now we should keep our shelters for just those in our immediate area? Sounds like N.I.M.B.Y.!
dfc4385 August 28, 2011 at 02:18 PM
The other problem is having enough trained personnel to man these shelters. So when are you going to volunteer?
Karen August 28, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Wow think poster was just saying had to have building a bit closer that would meet requirements. What I pay in taxes there should be friggin suites in those schools for shelters.
Melissa Thomson August 28, 2011 at 02:32 PM
I bet if people would allow the repairs to happen in the schools, we could use them as shelters. Brick High Shool leaks...
pete August 28, 2011 at 02:33 PM
don't worry dear...Karl will clean it up!
michael troncone August 28, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Power out along sally ike
judith johnson August 28, 2011 at 06:16 PM
Any word on parker avenue. In brick?
N. Hood August 28, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Any word about Chadwick Island emergency evacuation being lifted yet?
Abby August 29, 2011 at 04:46 AM
Is there power on ocean ave near Princeton? Are they allowing cars in Mantoloking?

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