Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency for New Jersey, ahead of Hurricane Sandy's expected arrival.

The declaration was made around 11 a.m. Saturday, shortly before the governor held a news conference to discuss how the state was preparing for the storm. Christie had been campaigning in North Carolina before returning to New Jersey on Friday night.

The state's office of emergency management has been activated and voluntary evacuations have started from South Jersey's barrier islands. Mandatory evacuations there are due to start Sunday afternoon.