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Christie Tours Devastated Jersey Shore

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty, Guv Christie and Lt Guv Kim Guadagno on Belmar Board walk after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit:Tim Larsen, Guv's office

Angela Delli Santi, AP (pool report distributed by the Governor’s office)

Gov. Chris Christie took a four-and-a-half-hour helicopter tour of New

Jersey’s Sandy-ravaged coast on Tuesday, stopping in Belmar and Avalon

to survey the damage firsthand and to offer a sympathetic ear and

encouraging word to residents and first-responders.

 

In Belmar, which was hit hard by the storm, Christie encountered one

woman who cried and a man, Walter Patrickis, 42, who told him,

“governor, I lost everything.”

 

From the air, Christie and several cabinet members saw homes surrounded

by water, residential blocks ending in the bay, submerged gazebos, roads

made impassable by drifted sand, a few smoldering fires where

foundations used to be, and boats piled into one another like toys. The

hardest-hit area appeared to be north of where Sandy made landfall, from

Seaside to Belmar.

 

“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 while surveying damage on Ocean Avenue.

 

The boardwalk south of 10th Avenue had been washed away. A seaside

trailer was knocked off its foundation. The continued high winds were

keeping power crews from starting repairs at the shore.

 

“We’re probably looking at a 7- to 10-day minimum to get power back

statewide,” Christie said. Someone in the crowd groaned.

 

Doherty said pre-storm conference calls between the governor’s office

and local mayors helped them be as prepared as possible. Doherty had

issued a mandatory evacuation for Belmar, surrounded on three sides by

water, which he told Christie most residents heeded.

 

Christie said when he issued his now-famous “get the hell off the beach”

line last year it was because he was expecting Hurricane Irene to cause

the kind of destruction that Sandy caused.

Once the weather clears and the waters recede, damage assessments will

be done.

 

“Now we’ve got a big task ahead of us that we have to do together. This

is the kind of thing New Jerseyans are built for – we’re plenty tough

and now we have a little more reason to be angry after this. Just what

we need in New Jersey, a chance to be a little more angry.”

Further south, in Avalon, the governor talked with Cape May County

officials and met with first-responders.

 

He said for now no one was being allowed back on barrier islands. He

said the decision to allow residents to return may be made on a

county-by-county basis. He said decisions on school re-openings could

also be made the same way, once officials are assured that returning to

school won’t imperil children, teachers or bus drivers.

 

“We’d like to get kids back to school and back to normalcy as quickly as

we can,” He said.

 

He urged residents living on barrier islands or with summer homes there

to have patience.

“I’m not going to authorize any re-entry to the barrier islands

east-bound until further notice,” Christie said, saying he’ll be

assessing the situation a two or three times a day.

 

“The storm surge was just incredible,” Christie told the officials. “The

river flooding that we got in Irene of the Raritan and the Passaic, we

didn’t get any of that this time, but it was all storm surge. That’s

what you’re seeing here.”

 

Cape May County Freeholder  Gerald Thornton told Christie that Avalon

and Cape May fared pretty well but that Ocean City and Sea Isle

sustained more damage.

 

Christie said to expect an executive order later in the week

rescheduling Halloween.

“It might even be funny to reschedule Halloween for Election Day,” the

governor said. The line got a chuckle from the local officials.

Posted: October 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Hurricane Irene | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Christie Tours Devastated Jersey Shore

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