October 31, 2012

Christie: Devastation at NJ shore 'unthinkable'

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — A day after megastorm Sandy crashed into New Jersey's shore, the massive scope of the storm's devastation became clear — homes were washed off their foundations, beloved landmarks had fallen into the ocean, power was out in every corner of the state, and at least six people were dead.

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Currie Wagner looks at the wreckage of his grandmother Betty Wagner's house, which was destroyed and wound up resting on top of the Mantoloking Bridge the morning after hybrid storm Sandy rolled through, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Mantoloking. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that the devastation on the New Jersey shore is "unthinkable" and that the state will likely take months to recover. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Foundations and pilings are all that remain of brick buildings and a boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, after they were destroyed when a powerful storm that started out as Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast on Monday night. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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Gov. Chris Christie warned Tuesday that the recovery would be a long one. New Jersey got the brunt of the storm, and some parts of the shore — a cherished spot for many residents and an economic engine in New Jersey's $35.5 billion tourism industry — might never look the same, he said.

"It won't be the same because some of the iconic things are washed into the ocean," Christie said Tuesday, hours after he'd toured the shore by helicopter and became emotional about seeing the haunts of his youth destroyed.

On the tour, Christie stopped in Belmar, where the town's boardwalk was wrecked and damaged.

"I was just here walking this place this summer, and the fact that most of it is gone is just incredible," Christie told Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty.

Though people jogged and took bike rides Tuesday on the battered boardwalk in Ocean City, just a few miles from where the storm's center made landfall Monday evening, search teams elsewhere continued to rescue people stranded by floodwaters. Some residents hadn't evacuated barrier islands; others were in places where the storm surge came fast and by surprise.

National Guard members in Black Hawk helicopters searched Long Beach Island and the barrier island to its north for any people left behind, Ocean County spokesman Rich Peterson said.

Residents were not allowed on Ocean City, Long Beach Island, and other barrier islands Tuesday and it was not clear when they would be. Atlantic City's casinos remained shuttered and there was no word on when they would reopen.

Guard members arrived in Hoboken late Tuesday night to assist in evacuating residents and delivering supplies to heavily flooded areas in the mile-square city on the Hudson River.

By late Tuesday, roughly 2.1 million homes and businesses were without electricity, down by 500,000 at the peak of the outages. Christie said it would take more than a week for crews to get everyone's power back on. Jersey City was without power; Some sections of Newark, which had also gone dark, had power restored by Tuesday evening.

Most mass transit systems remained shut down.

Meanwhile, the White House announced President Barack Obama had scratched his campaign stops to tour the storm damage in New Jersey on Wednesday.

Towns rescheduled Halloween festivities and Christie said he would sign an order Wednesday declaring another day Halloween this year. The governor said contingency plans also were being considered for Election Day on Nov. 6.

Schools and state government were closed for a second day Tuesday. State government offices were to remain closed Wednesday, as were many schools. Early Tuesday, Christie urged private businesses to let workers stay home for the day unless workers had a clear path in.

Rutgers University canceled classes at its campuses in New Brunswick and Newark for the remainder of the week.

David Anthony and his wife, Ann Felice, both 64, recalled their fearful night, waiting out the storm. The couple were stuck in their house on Barnegat Bay across from Long Beach Island when water began to rise Monday. They went to their upstairs bedroom and tied five bedsheets together, thinking they might need to use them as a rope to escape as the winds and surge pounded the home.

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Additional Photos

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Nicholas Rodriguez looks over a section of the destroyed boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, not far from where a powerful storm that started out as Hurricane Sandy made landfall the night before. Millions of people from Maine to the Carolinas awoke Tuesday without electricity, but the full extent of the damage in New Jersey, where the storm roared ashore Monday night with hurricane force, was unclear. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  


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