New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tonight declared a State of Emergency in New Jersey due to the severe weather conditions of the last two days which have resulted in river and stream flooding in some areas, hundreds of thousands of power outages, damage to property and at least two deaths.
The State of Emergency, similar to one declared on February 9 for some southern counties of the state due to heavy snow fall, broadens powers of the New Jersey State Police to activate elements of the State Emergency Operations Plan, including traffic control, limiting access and egress from impacted areas and issuing evacuation orders if needed, among other powers.
The declaration, which was made in an Executive Order signed by Gov. Christie, confers those powers on the state Director of Emergency Management, who is the Superintendent of the State Police, Col. Rick Fuentes. The Executive Order would also allow National Guard troops to be called up if needed.
The Executive Order specifically notes that major flooding is occurring on the Raritan and Passaic Rivers. The State Police report that some media have erroneously reported tonight that dams in northern New Jersey had been breached. As of 9 p.m. no such events had been confirmed.
“My first order of business as Governor is to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens,” Governor Christie said. “I want to ensure that local and county resources are supplemented if needed to get everyone through this as quickly and safely as possible.”