As politicians and other officials have beenÂ preparing for Hurricane Sandy, they have hammered home one message above all -Â don’t ignore the warnings.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie was on theÂ offensive, denouncing anyone who disobeyed his evacuation notice as ‘stupid andÂ selfish’.
Barack Obama echoed the sentiment, saying:Â ‘When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate.’
But as these pictures show, not everyone inÂ the hurricane’s path has been paying attention.
Whether theyÂ are hanging out on piers whichÂ are threatened with destruction, orÂ taking photographs of towering waves, theseÂ brave souls show littleÂ regard for their personal safety.
More worryingly, some seem to be puttingÂ their children in harm’s way too,Â with several images of youngsters playing onÂ the very beaches which areÂ expected to bear the brunt of theÂ attacks.
And the pictures also bear witness to theÂ willingness of some to ignoreÂ evacuation orders, with natives of New York’sÂ City Island staying putÂ even as the storm surge reaches as far as theirÂ homes.
As Sandyslams into New Jersey, where the water has already reached five feet high,Â hundreds of thousands of people across Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland,Â Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina,Â RhodeÂ Island and Virginia are without power.
Utilities company ConEd had called customersÂ to warn it will shut off power lines across Manhattan and Brooklyn, meaningÂ millions more will be affected.Â The company shut off power in 200,000 homes inÂ the area in last year’sÂ Hurricane Irene – but this year’s storm packs a muchÂ fiercer punch.
Sandy, which forecasters said could be the largest hurricane inÂ U.S. history, has revealed the firstÂ signs of her monstrous power, dumpingÂ snow, breaching rivers and forcing floodwaters into towns and homes across theÂ East Coast.
During a press conference at lunchtime onÂ Monday, Obama said: ‘Do not delay. Don’t pause. Don’t question the instructionsÂ that are being given, because this is a serious storm and it could potentiallyÂ have fatal consequences.’
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg wasÂ even more forceful, saying: ‘If you don’t evacuate, you are not only endangeringÂ your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who areÂ going in to rescue you.’
He was particularly insistent thatÂ thrill-seekers should not risk their lives by trying to take advantage of theÂ record waves.
Despite the warning, one man was picturedÂ surfing just off Coney Island in Brooklyn.
Christie had very strong words for anyone whoÂ refused to evacuate the low-lying New Jersey barrier islands.
‘If I turn out to be right and you turn outÂ to be dead, that’s not a great equation,’ he told holdouts, whom he hasÂ repeatedly blasted as ‘stupid’.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo added to theÂ cautionary chorus, saying: ‘You do not need to be going to the beach to takeÂ pictures.
‘Don’t be fooled. Don’t look out the windowÂ and say, “Well it doesn’t look so bad.”‘
Amidst the doom-laden warnings, at least oneÂ member of the public appeared to take a more light-hearted approach to theÂ hurricane’s arrival.
A news team in Washington DC filmed footageÂ of the prankster running around the streets wearing just underwear and aÂ horse-head mask.