Sandy devastates New Jersey - New York News

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

Emergency assistance for devastated New Jersey

Posted: Updated:

A monster storm that knocked out power to millions is making for very dangerous conditions in its aftermath.

The New Jersey National Guard was called into Hoboken to help residents stuck in their homes get to dry land.

More than half of the town remained flooded Thursday.

"We are knocking on doors and looking for medical emergencies first. We are delivering food and water so people can remain in their homes until water recedes but those with medical situations will be evacuated," Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer told Good Day NY.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is opening disaster centers in the counties of Atlantic, Cap May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex Monmouth, Ocean and Union.

The centers will provide temporary shelter, home repairs and loans to cover losses.

To find out more, visit DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362.

Along the shore, oceanfront homes were swept from their foundations, boardwalks were wrecked, amusement pier rides were cast into the ocean, and streets turned into rivers because of the unexpected force of a tidal surge from Hurrican Sandy.

On the shore and inland, it was apparent that the megastorm touched almost everyone in the state when it brought hurricane-force wind gusts to some areas and a foot of rain to some.

From a helicopter ride Gov. Chris Christie, cabinet members and journalists took, it appeared that the stretch from Seaside Heights to Belmar sustained the worst damage, with some houses wiped away and many that remained partially buried in sand.

At a stop in Belmar, one woman cried to the governor and Walter Patrickis, 42, told him, "Governor, I lost everything."

Christie promised a full recovery, though one that will take time.

"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," he said. "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."

The town of Belmar is collecting donations for Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery. Visit Belmar.com to donate.

The storm killed at least five people in New Jersey, including an identified man whose body was pulled from the Hackensack River in Hackensack on Tuesday and a 61-year-old Princeton man killed Monday night by a tree that fell on him as he cleared debris from his driveway.

Operations continued throughout the day Monday through Wednesday to rescue those stranded on barrier islands and in places where floods came quickly and as surprises.

By Wednesday afternoon, nearly 2 million homes and businesses were without power, including those in the state's two largest cities. The number of customers in the dark was more than twice the peak outage number after Tropical Storm Irene last year; it took more than a week to restore power everywhere then. The state's largest utility, PSE&G, said it was trying to dry out substations it had to shut down. By Wednesday morning, approximately 30 percent of those who had lost power saw the juice return.

The outages in Newark and Jersey City meant traffic signals were out and there were numerous fender-benders at intersections where police were not directing traffic. And in one Jersey City supermarket that was open, there were long lines to get bread and a spot at an outlet to charge cellphones.

Trees and power lines were down in every corner of the state. Schools and state government offices were closed for a second day — and many called off classes Wednesday, too. While many major roads were reopening, officials were urging residents to stay home. It was unclear when mass transit systems would start running again.

President Barack Obama, who was canceling campaign appearances, was planning to visit the state on Wednesday to thank first responders.

Christie, who called the shore damage "unthinkable," said a full recovery would take months, at least, and it would likely be a week or more before power is restored to everyone who lost it.

Towns were starting to reschedule Halloween festivities. Christie said the state was looking into contingency plans for the Nov. 6 election, but he said that given the destruction across the state, that wasn't a priority for him.

Officials' top priority, Christie said, was trying to rescue people stranded on barrier islands.

The governor said two dozen small train freight cars were swept by a tidal surge off their tracks and onto an elevated section of the New Jersey Turnpike in Carteret.

He said the PATH trains connecting northern New Jersey with Manhattan would be out of service for at least seven to 10 days because of flooding at stations in Jersey City and Hoboken.

All the New Jersey Transit rail lines were damaged, he said. Bridges were battered and tracks on the North Jersey Coast Line were washed out. It was not clear when the rail lines would be able to open.

Some of the most dramatic destruction appeared to be in Seaside Heights, where rides on amusement piers were dumped into the Atlantic Ocean, homes were smashed, roofs collapsed and aerial video from news organizations showed retreating seawater leaving many homes partially buried in sand.

Brian Hajeski, an iron worker, got his wife, two kids and two dogs inland Monday night, then returned to their house near the bay in Brick Township to retrieve some clothes. Water was lapping up on the driveway when he got home after 10 p.m. When he went to leave, 15 minutes later, he said, water was a few feet deep and rising as the ocean breached the bay.

"I think I just made it out of there in time," he said.

Hajeski said he spent part of Tuesday rescuing stranded neighbors with a front-end loader.

The neighborhood, he said, smelled of diesel fuel that had spilled. He saw boats from a nearby boatyard scattered on roads and dead squirrels floating in floodwaters. When he went to nearby Mantoloking in a canoe, he found that homes had been wiped out. "Six or eight were just gone," he said.

Authorities in Moonachie launched a rescue effort after a huge tidal surge sent water over a natural berm in the town of 2,700 about 10 miles northwest of Manhattan. Police Sgt. Tom Schmidt said the rush of water put about 5 feet of water in the streets within 45 minutes. Hundreds of stranded people were taken out by boats and trucks in rescues that lasted through Tuesday.

The area, along the Hackensack River, is one that's usually not prone to floods. By contrast, spots along central and northern New Jersey's Passaic and Raritan rivers that are accustomed to flooding were not hard hit this time.

Bergen County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Dwane Razzetti said people were clinging to rooftops after the first and second floors of their homes flooded.

Moonachie resident Juan Allen said he watched a dramatic creek overflow near his home. "I saw trees not just knocked down but ripped right out of the ground," he said. "I watched a tree crush a guy's house like a wet sponge."

In Atlantic City, where floodwaters reached 8 feet in some spots, several blocks of the first-in-the-nation boardwalk were destroyed by the storm. But a majority of it remained intact.

Boardwalks in Belmar and Sea Girt weren't as lucky: They got wrecked.

Carol Mason returned to her bay-front home to find it sodden from floodwaters that washed through overnight. The carpets squished as she stepped on them; cans of beer and soda she had stored on the porch had washed inside the house.

Mason initially tried to ride out the storm, despite a mandatory evacuation order. But looking out a bathroom window, she saw the bay waters rapidly rising and reconsidered.

"I looked at the bay and saw the fury in it," she said. "I knew it was time to go."

Mohammed Rashid, who lives above the ice cream store he owns in Atlantic City, said someone broke in and stole all the cigarettes he had stocked on the first floor, even while the building was flooded. Rashid remained on the second floor Tuesday, with 4 feet of water on the first floor. "I think I have nothing now," he said. "Everything is gone: my clothes, my everything. Nothing is left behind."

Officials were evacuating the Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, which lost power, sending 51 patients, including new mothers and babies, to Hackensack University Medical Center. Even though generator power was restored at Palisades Medical Center, officials feared the situation was too unstable.

In Point Pleasant, Barry Prezioso returned to his home to find flood damage.

"It's heartbreaking after being here 37 years. You see your home demolished like this, it's tough," he said. "But nobody got hurt and the upstairs is still livable, so we can still live upstairs and clean this out. I'm sure there's people that had worst. I feel kind of lucky."

___

Zezima reported from Ocean City. Associated Press writers David Porter in Moonachie, Wayne Parry in Elizabeth, Samantha Henry in Jersey City, and Geoff Mulvihill and Larry Rosenthal in Trenton, photographer Julio Cortez in Brick Township and videographer Bill Gorman in Point Pleasant contributed to this report.

  • Today on Good DayToday on Good DayMore>>

  • The Simpsons marathon on FXX

    The Simpsons marathon on FXX

    Thursday, August 28 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-08-28 16:27:14 GMT
    For actress Yeardley Smith, 'Lisa Simpson'-- the brainiac sister of Bart Simson on 'The Simpsons'-- is like a best friend. Smith has been the voice of the animated character since the 1980s and she is getting plenty of air time on FXX lately.The channel is running every episode of The Simpsons, 24 hours a day.“My Twitter account is blowing up. We have writers who as their episodes are airing they're talking about what they were thinking about when they wrote and saying lovely things."
    For actress Yeardley Smith, 'Lisa Simpson'-- the brainiac sister of Bart Simson on 'The Simpsons'-- is like a best friend. Smith has been the voice of the animated character since the 1980s and she is getting plenty of air time on FXX lately.The channel is running every episode of The Simpsons, 24 hours a day.“My Twitter account is blowing up. We have writers who as their episodes are airing they're talking about what they were thinking about when they wrote and saying lovely things."
  • Back to school special

    Back to school special

    Thursday, August 28 2014 10:51 AM EDT2014-08-28 14:51:52 GMT
    School is back in session for some and will be for most students and staff starting next week.  Good Day New York wanted to salute teachers from across the Tristate as they head back to the classroom. On Thursday, a live studio audience of teachers were part of the Back To School Special: Good Day New York Sorry Summer is Over But We Praise and Honor Teachers (but no math; we like math teachers, though.)
    School is back in session for some and will be for most students and staff starting next week.  Good Day New York wanted to salute teachers from across the Tristate as they head back to the classroom. On Thursday, a live studio audience of teachers were part of the Back To School Special: Good Day New York Sorry Summer is Over But We Praise and Honor Teachers (but no math; we like math teachers, though.)
  • Attractive players in tennis, help or hurt?

    Attractive players in tennis, help or hurt?

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 1:19 PM EDT2014-08-27 17:19:52 GMT
    The U.S. Open is underway in Queens and there's no denying that many of the players, both men and women, are in great physical shape and know how to play that up. Women are particularly promoted in the industry as attractive, fashionable and fiercely competitive. Does that help the game and draw more people in?
    The U.S. Open is underway in Queens and there's no denying that many of the players, both men and women, are in great physical shape and know how to play that up. Women are particularly promoted in the industry as attractive, fashionable and fiercely competitive. Does that help the game and draw more people in?
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices