Atlantic County has declared a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Sandy continues to churn toward New Jersey.

Atlantic County seal (Facebook)

The declaration, which took effect at 6 AM Saturday, allows officials to employ resources and assets necessary to prepare for -- and respond to -- the impending storm. There is no travel ban in effect at this time. The state of emergency will remain in effect until further notice.

If orders to evacuate are issued, the county will provide several shelters, however these should be a last option as they offer very basic provisions. Due to the magnitude of this storm, it may necessitate a stay of several days. Pet-friendly shelters will only accept pets in carriers with their own supply of food.

Residents who require assistance should contact their local office of emergency management. Contact numbers are provided on ReadyAtlantic.org and in the Verizon phone book. You may also access this information by calling the county's emergency information hotline at 1-866-704-4636.

In the meantime, residents are urged to prepare an emergency kit with several days' supplies. Kits should include changes of clothing, necessary medications, non-perishable food, and identification documents.