ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) – Officials in Atlantic County are worried as Hurricane Irene passes along the New Jersey coast overnight, it could put the barrier islands under water and cause major flooding inland.

Ed Conover is deputy coordinator of Atlantic County’s Office of Emergency Management.

“We’re looking at a 4-to-8-foot storm surge, on top of a 7-foot high tide, with wave action of 10 to 15 feet on top of that, which is extreme amounts of water. This will be, most likely, if the predictions hold up, a record-setting event for this area.”

Conover said with rainfall amounts of 8 to 12 inches predicted for inland areas of the county, there is likely to be extensive flooding that could take half of a day or a day to show up after Irene passes. In the meantime, Conover says, all county officials can do until the storm passes is watch, wait and hope.

The Atlantic County Office of Emergency Preparedness reports that approximately 76,000 individuals have been evacuated from the areas of the county included under order of mandatory evacuation. Those areas include the barrier island communities of Brigantine, Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport in addition to residents who live on the mainland east of Route 9.

Atlantic County has a countywide year-round population of 275,000. Approximately 100,000 residents reside in the mandatory evacuation areas.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio

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