Around eleven months ago, rumors of Hurricane Sandy began flooding news stations and communities in New Jersey and throughout the America’s East coast. Communities throughout the coast were warned of the impending force of the oncoming storm. Evacuations were called for and Home Depots filled with people collecting supplies in preparation for the approaching hurricane. Some families parked their family vehicles at the town’s highest elevated locations and evacuated, while some decided to ride out the storm from the unsure comfort of their own home. Days later, the storm struck and caused vast damage across the coast. Sandy left families and entire communities in a state of complete devastation and with no other option but to face the daunting task of recovery for the coming months, or even years. The storm came and went in just a little less than a week, but the immense destruction it caused will not be forgotten for many years.
Hurricane Sandy originated in the Caribbean Sea on October 22nd, 2012. Beginning as a tropical wave it was quickly upgraded to a tropical storm just hours later. Tropical Storm Sandy continued to intensify and first made landfall in Jamaica on October 24th, where it was then officially declared a hurricane. Sandy continued to develop into a Category 2, and then at its peak, a Category 3 Hurricane. The storm struck Cuba and the Bahamas and then began its climb up the America’s Eastern Coast. Though at this time the storm was weakened into a Category 1 Hurricane, it began to encounter the winter weather systems occurring in the U.S., resulting in a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane force winds which came to be known as Super Storm Sandy.
Sandy caused a massive trail of destruction, leaving every region it came in contact with in a serious state of devastation. The Hurricane hit many areas, with New York and New Jersey being among the most severely affected regions. Being a resident of the Jersey Shore, I can say from a first-hand perspective that the New Jersey’s shore, as well as much of the East Coast still has not recovered from the storm’s damaging effects as we approach a full year later. Whether a collapsed boardwalk or pier, a restaurant or bar still sitting as a pile of debris in a vacant lot, or a street covered in sand resembling one New Jersey’s famous beaches more so then any type of roadway, NJ is just not the same. Entire communities have been left deserted and uninhabitable, marinas are filled with boats in piles rather than afloat besides their now sunken docks. Though through MTV’s less than flattering depiction of the now infamous “Jersey Shore”, New Jersey and its beaches have developed an unfortunate reputation for drama and overreactions, the effects of Sandy are still very real.
“It goes from a bad dream to a nightmare,” said Seabright mayor Dina Long at the time of the hurricane. Long also said the damages were “incalculable” and would most likely total in the hundreds of millions. Seabright’s mayor was absolutely right as New Jersey’s total estimated cost of recovery from Sandy is currently in excess of 36 billion dollars.
Throughout New Jersey there is still substantial damage to homes, communities, and businesses. This past summer, a season usually celebrated at the Jersey shore was just a bit different than that of the past.
“I thought it was strange passing by businesses, like restaurants, beach clubs, or just landmarks that I had so many memories with in summers past that no longer existed,” said Dylan McBride, a resident of Oceanport, New Jersey. “Kind of an eye opener that nothing lasts forever and change was on the horizon.”
Though some areas and landmarks of New Jersey’s shore are devastated beyond return, most areas of the shore are still in a state of rebuilding and recovery. Residents of towns such as Oceanport, Seabright, Monmouth Beach, and surrounding areas were greatly affected by the storm initially and much of the damage can still be seen.
“Even after a full year, we are still seeing buildings, homes, and even the beach rebuilt,” said Keith White a resident of Oceanport. “It’s sad and just bizarre to drive by certain areas and still see piles of debris and buildings collapsed.”
Sandy devastated many beach towns along the Jersey Shore; Seabright and Monmouth Beach were no exception. Chris Lovgren, a resident of Monmouth Beach whose house actually flooded and took on a great deal of damage during Sandy said of the storm, “Superstorm Sandy was one that we will definitely never forget. The effects of the storm are still with us today and are difficult to shake off. Many sayings such as ‘restore the shore’ were brought up, but it is truly the people in the community that have been working to bring our wonderful state back together.”