New Jersey officials are following the course of Hurricane Irene and are urging residents to take some precautions. State Police spokesman Stephen Jones suggests residents gas up their cars, secure outdoor furniture, and have a supply of food, water, and flashlights just in case the storm causes problems.”Now is the time to do all that preparation,” said Jones. People who leave things go to the very end are the ones who end up staring at empty store shelves and possibly a real mess around their house.” State climatologist Dave Robinson says it’s too soon to tell whether the Garden State faces the threat of serious damage from the storm.”If the worst we get out of this is just some rip currents and large waves we’ll be grateful, but there’s still a high potential that it’s going to be more than that,” said Jones. Robinson says above normal rainfall this month has pushed up river levels, increasing the potential for flooding. He says soft ground means strong winds could more easily topple trees.