“I can be as cynical as anyone,” the pugnacious chief executive said in a bit of understatement yesterday. “But when the storm comes, if it’s as bad as they’re predicting, you’re going to wish you weren’t as cynical as you otherwise might have been.”
The storm forced the presidential campaign to juggle schedules. Romney scrapped plans to campaign Sunday in the swing state of Virginia and switched his schedule for the day to Ohio. First lady Michelle Obama canceled an appearance in New Hampshire for Tuesday, and President Barack Obama moved a planned Monday departure for Florida to tonight to beat the storm.
In Ship Bottom, just north of Atlantic City, Alice and Giovanni Stockton-Rossini spent yesterday packing clothing in the back yard of their home, a few hundred yards from the ocean on Long Beach Island. Their neighborhood was under a voluntary evacuation order, but they didn’t need to be forced.
“It’s really frightening,” Alice Stockton-Rossi said. “But you know how many times they tell you, ‘This is it, it’s really coming and it’s really the big one’ and then it turns out not to be? I’m afraid people will tune it out because of all the false alarms before, and the one time you need to take it seriously, you won’t. This one might be the one.”
A few blocks away, Russ Linke was taking no chances. He and his wife secured the patio furniture, packed the bicycles into the pickup truck, and headed off the island.
“I’ve been here since 1997, and I never even put my barbecue grill away during a storm. But I am taking this one seriously,” he said.
What makes the storm so dangerous and unusual is that it is coming at the tail end of hurricane season and the beginning of winter storm season, “so it’s kind of taking something from both,” said Jeff Masters, director of the private service Weather Underground.