EWING, N.J. (AP) -- Tens of thousands of visitors to the New Jersey shore and many residents have begun an orderly exodus after a series of requests to evacuate because of Hurricane Irene.
Mandatory orders to exit Atlantic City and all of Cape May County are expected to make this the biggest evacuation in state history. Atlantic City's 11 casinos are bracing for a likely shutdown that would be only their third since opening in 1978.
Gov. Chris Christie warns trying to ride out the storm "is not the smart thing to do."
He has asked all coastal visitors to voluntarily head home by noon Friday. His family has left the governor's summer residence on Island Beach State Park.
Nearly a million people could've been covered by the mandatory evacuations depending on how many tourists were in each affected area.