Linda Gilmore, of the Atlantic County Emergency Operations Center, said that all residents and visitors had been asked to evacuate the barrier islands, including the stretch of casinos in Atlantic City, beginning today. Gilmore said the wind poses the greatest danger to Atlantic City, with downed wires posing the biggest threat to safety on the islands.
Gomes said the Resorts Casino Hotel, which was built in the 1920s, has walls that are three feet thick, and should withstand whatever Irene throws at the hotel.
"We boarded the windows facing the ocean and put the sandbags up at the doors," Gomes said. "We hope to reopen Monday, and hopefully have people come back and visit the resorts, and have post-hurricane party."
As the storm progresses through the weekend, all emergency personnel, including first responders, may leave the barrier island. People remaining behind would be stranded, Gilmore said.
All traffic flowing into Atlantic City will be stopped this afternoon, as the Atlantic City Expressway becomes a westbound-only roadway to help the evacuation, according to the governor's office. Tolls will be waived on the Atlantic City Expressway and the southern portion of the Garden State Parkways for people driving west and north away from the barrier island, according to the NJ Turnpike Authority.