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