A voluntary evacuation is in place right now.
"Do not try to ride it out. It is not the smart thing to do," Christie told a news conference Thursday at the State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center.
He also told people who had been planning to visit the shore this weekend to stay home: "Do not go," he said.
He said it was especially important visitors leave the state's barrier islands. He and his family were leading by example, leaving the governor's summer residence on Island Beach State Park on Thursday.
Irene, moving through the Bahamas on Thursday and heading toward the North Carolina coast, could deliver rain and winds to the populous Northeast over the weekend, and bear down on New Jersey on Sunday. Rain brought Thursday by a weather system unrelated to Irene made the flood prospects even worse.
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