'It is time to move,' Christie says

Cars line up for gas as traffic moves north on Rt 47 in Cape May County after an evacuation order was given on Thursday afternoon. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)

Gov. Christie is warning those still on the barrier islands of Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean Counties: "You have to get out. The weather is good today. It's sunny. It is time to move."

Christie offered these updates: Tolls have been suspended on southern parts of the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway...Casinos will close as of noon tomorrow...Motor Vehicle Commission offices in counties on the Shore will close and grant extensions to drivers with expired licenses...About 1,300 inmates from Southwoods State Prison will be moved overnight...Sunday move-in dates have been delayed for Rutgers University...NJ Transit buses and possibly school buses will be used to take those without transportation, particularly in Atlantic City, to safer ground...Flood gates have been lowered...Nuclear facilities will close...Hundreds of New Jersey National Guardsmen have been called up...

And highways going to the Shore will be running one way: Away from the ocean.

"So for some reason if you were thinking about going to dinner in Atlantic City tonight forget it, you're going somewhere else," he said.

Christie spoke with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for advice today, he said, and also took a conference call with President Obama, several governors, major city mayors like Philly Mayor Nutter, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Christie expressed contempt for those "dopes" on TV who believe Hurricane Irene will just be a bad thunderstorm, and said there will "most likely" be record flooding next week.

"This is not like anything you’ve seen before," he said.

Those with pets are often reluctant to evacuate during such situations, so Christie said the administration is working on getting animal shelters to allow pet owners to temporarily board their pets while they evacuate.


"In my mind you can't use that as an excuse to put human life at risk, but we're going to try to do what we can to accommodate those folks," he said. "Staying with their pets is not going to save their life."

This is the governor's second press conference in 24 hours, and those who frame his political image undoubtedly hope this wipes away memories from last Christmas, when both he and his lieutenant governor were on vacation during a blizzard that featured poor plowing of major roadways.