It is easy to dismiss many hurricane warnings as hurricane stupidity, as I did in Florida Hurricane Stupidity, if you can instantly get your own personal hurricane warnings.
This is what I did for an employee, worried about hurricane warnings and hurricane stupidity, after a rather small Hurricane Irene skipped Fort Lauderdale by more than 175 miles. I also showed a distant friend how to keep getting his personal hurricane warnings in the email below.
This is probably more than you need to know, but I favor cautious personal hurricane warnings over hurricane stupidity.
Gas stations and food stores the often well stocked within an hour or so from coastal areas. Get ice for refrigerators and picnic coolers and fill up water bottles from the tap. Get long duration flashlights and consider using your fully charged computer battery backup for lights abd occasional computer use. I would only do this when hurricanes get about 24 hours away. Before then, hurricane warnings often cover areas a thousand miles apart, due to uncertainty. Except for the largest hurricanes, a 200 mile miss is insignificant.
For your best hurricane warnings, look at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration site first. Then go to the National Hurricane Center for the applicable storm. My favorite hurricane warnings display is the Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Track Forecast Cone. I especially like the ability of this and some other displays to drill down indefinitely while moving ahead.
For real time hurricane warnings, when the storm gets close, use the Satellite visible and infrared displays. You can set them to loop and slow down (omit intermediate displays). All other hurricane warnings tends to over dramatize and exaggerate, which is why I call them hurricane stupidity.
I believe you are in Toms River, NJ. It is about 7 miles from the coast and about 20 miles from the current and highly variable storm center track. Keep a close eye on this chart, as the hurricane gets close. It will be a rather small low-intensity hurricane by the time it gets there (80 mph top winds, 100 mph gusts, at around 8 AM Sunday). You can get occasional 60 mph gusts in thunderstorms, so this will not be a dramatic hurricane for you. The hurricane also should then be moving at around 25 mph (see how far it is from the indicated locations in the 12 hours before and after it comes to you). At 25 mph or higher, so it will pass through quickly. This will minimize damage and disruption.
If Hurricane Irene proceeds as predicted, it will weaken it from the time it hits North Carolina. Even if it stays offshore, much of the storm will have to pass over land from then on. That and its minimal winds will create a small center of top winds around the eye. The latest Advisory says, “Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles...from the center.” However, this refers to the present open-ocean state and higher winds. Hurricane force winds should be less than 30 miles from the center by the time it reaches you. Based on your distance from the storm, your worst wind should be barely 75 mph. That can cause some tree damage and power outages, but should not be bad.
Toms River is at the end of a narrowing bay. That can magnify the storm surge. However, the Tropical Cyclone Storm Surge Probabilities display now predicts a less than 20% chance of a 2-foot surge for you. There is about a 10% chance of a 3-foot surge and no likelihood of a 4-foot surge. Depending on your elevation, and if the storm arrives at high tide, these surges should be insignificant.
You should be able to find a reasonably priced motel, with a laptop connection, within an hour from you, before or a few hours after the storm. That and a terminal server connection let us work and enjoy ourselves the day after Wilma did extensive damage, despite a two-week local power outage.