A year ago Tuesday, Hurricane Sandy slammed into New Jersey and swept up the Atlantic Coast, killing 159 people and causing billions of dollars in property damage.
The second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history displaced as many as 380,000 people in New Jersey; FEMA says more than 40,000 homes in the state sustained "major damage." Today, many storm victims are still struggling to get federal relief money and insurance settlements and to decide whether and how to repair their homes.
Gov. Christie said Friday that his biggest post-storm concern was the "potential of changing the character of the Shore, losing that working-class edge and grit."
Several things, the governor said, could conspire to make the Shore a haven for the wealthy: skyrocketing flood insurance, high rebuilding costs, a ban on federal recovery dollars for second-home owners, and home-elevation requirements.
Among the hardest-hit areas was Long Beach Island, where Sandy flooded streets, blew out windows and doors, and tossed boats into backyards.
"First, we had an ocean surge, which took out a lot of the commercial areas' windows and doors," said Ship Bottom Mayor Bill Huelsenbeck, "and then the wind switched to the south bay tide and flooded the rest of the town."
As other areas continue to struggle, in Ship Bottom, the progress over the last year has been "amazingly good," Huelsenbeck said.
"There are some horror stories," he said, "but getting there when the sun came up in the morning, looking at exactly what was happening, I never could have imagined that in one year, we progressed as far as we did."
For more coverage of the effects of Hurricane Sandy one year later, go to www.inquirer.com/sandy