An eerie stillness sits over the island of Wildwood, which is essentially an abandoned ghost town. We wish we had a hurricane proof armored vehicle that could float… where can we get one of those? No cars coming on or off the Rio Grande Bridge and we haven’t seen any humans from our vantage point. For the first time ever I can actually hear the ocean from my porch which is on the bay-side of the island, 8 blocks from the massive beach which is about a couple blocks long. There’s a jittery squirm in the pit of my stomach, but I love it. Seagulls are flying every which way, all disoreineted. It’s just me and Steve-oh, the last of the mohicans.. It seems as if it’s us and like maybe 20 others left on the island.
Earlier today we searched for gasoline but pretty much every gas station on the Jersey Cape was out. Eventually we found one near Cape May Court House that was open. Waited in a line, filled the tank and the second we screwed the cap back on the gas station attendant announced that there was no more gas. Seems we got the last tank in South Jersey.
The beaches are all closed off with DANGER tape, and the Boardwalk is shutdown but an announcement came over the speakers saying that all businesses on the island are to be closed by midnight tonight, which seems to have already happened hours ago.. All vehicles have to be stopped and you cannot leave the island past 2 pm tomorrow. At 4 pm tomorrow there is a curfew on the entire island and residents must be inside or they will be fined. A car with a loud speaker has been going around announcing a “mandatory evacuation” and to “please leave now.” Continue reading “as the hurricane approaches..” »
Bracing for the mother storm, all the hatches are battened down and the island of Wildwood is a ghost town. Early today I wasn’t all that concerned but by afternoon there was a voluntary evacuation of Cape May County and then a mandatory. Governor Christie describes Hurricane Irene as a “serious, significant event.” She’s pissed off and on a direct collision course with Cape May. Nothing is more thrilling and terrifying than being in the middle of this story. By evening everything was getting boarded up, bumper to bumper traffic trying to get off the island and maybe a few lone cars coming onto it. Lines for gas at the Wawa on Rio Grande were wrapped around blocks. “It’s like the whole world’s coming to an end down here,” said a dad inside with his kids who were in deep anguish that the deli was closed (as was I). Hours later the Wawa was boraded up and closed. Now, anyone from the Philadelphia/South Jersey area knows that when you can’t depend on the most dependable place in your life, you have some real troubles…
The fun, trendy Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill which stands across the street from the beach in Cape May hosted a “Hurricane Party.” Let’s just hope the hurricane party wasn’t the “we’re gonna be wiped out party..” I’ve never really seen anything like it before in my life. Some of my best friends, Steve York from First Things First and Matt Worrell, creator of Shwirladelphia (a blog that fell off the map) drove down for the experience. The expressway and Parkway north were parking lots (but the tolls were free)… South bound was essentially empty.
We rode our bikes to the sea wall in North Wildwood, realizing the island was ours. Right now it’s the calm before the storm, but the “once in a 50 year” monster is making her way up the coast and will likely be a category 2 once it barrels up the Jersey Shoreline (Katrina was a 3). A track which it is likely to take, over Atlantic City and Manhattan will bring intense winds westward to Philly.
I have to admit that this is incredibly exciting. Of course I fear mass damage and people getting hurt or killed and I pray that everyone (including me) will be safe. Though something like this only comes once in a lifetime. For everyone who’s braving it out here on the island, Godspeed!
Stay tuned for more updates.