As Hurricane Sandy moves towards Massachusetts, voluntary evacuation recommendations have been issued in Scituate, Lynn, New Bedford and Plum Island.

The evacuation recommendations have been issued for just certain sections of the communities that could be affected by flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy that is expected to make landfall in New Jersey today.

State officials say communities with south-facing beaches are expected to take the brunt of the storm surge.

Shelters have already been opened in low-lying areas such as Fall River, Scituate, Chilmark, Newbury and Weymouth. A spokeswoman for the Red Cross said just a few people stayed in the shelters last night, but they are expecting more people to stream in this afternoon as the storm moves closer.

Evacuating Quickly

Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the American Red Cross in Eastern Massachusetts advised people who are considering going to shelters to head over soon. “If you’re thinking about going to a shelter, do it this afternoon,” Barrios advised. “Bring what you need, pillows. We have cots, bedding, food, little games for kids, but bring stuff from home. [The shelters] are clean, they’re safe, they’re dry.”

Barrios also highlighted the severity of the evacuation notice, saying, “We’re really encouraging people — if you get the evacuation order, please heed it.”

Staying Safe at Home

For those who decide to stay at home, Barrios had advice on how to batten down the hatches. “Don’t go outside during the storm,” Barrios cautioned. “Turn your freezer closed [and] most importantly, make sure you have water for 3 days' supply, which is one gallon a day per person.” Barrios also recommended having nonperishable foods, and making sure that you refill your prescriptions in case of pharmacy closures.

For those looking to evacuate their homes, a list of all Red Cross shelters can be found on the Red Cross website. If you have power, Barrios recommends downloading the hurricane app from

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.