Obama: 'The Entire Country Has Been Watching'

Historic, devastating Sandy pummels Atlantic City and the region, bringing President Obama and Gov. Christie to South Jersey less than a week before the presidential election.

By Jeff Schwachter
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Nov. 1, 2012

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Update: 2:45PM, Nov. 1:

From Trenton: Governor Chris Christie has announced that he has granted the Atlantic County government’s request to rescind the mandatory evacuation order for the barrier island communities of Brigantine Beach, Margate City and Longport Borough. The communities of Atlantic City and Ventnor City remain under the mandatory evacuation order at the request of each municipality’s local officials, who continue to require prohibited access while public safety and public health concerns are resolved.


ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY — The Atlantic City Boardwalk will never be the same. The Jersey Shore, says Gov. Chris Christie, will never be the same. Those affected by the devastating flooding in Atlantic City and up and down the New Jersey coast will never be the same.

Some in New Jersey lost their lives due to Hurricane Sandy. Others risked their own lives to save others. The total death toll from Sandy climbed to 133 people (including those lost in the Caribbean) by late Wednesday afternoon.

SEE PHOTOS : Obama and Christie in Brigantine and at ACY

The region is still under a state of emergency as of Wednesday, with the Atlantic City casinos not expected to re-open until Thursday, Nov. 1, at the earliest. The gaming halls have been shuttered since Christie evacuated the resort on Sunday afternoon as Hurricane Sandy headed to the Jersey shore, where it made landfall Monday evening.

ABOVE: President Obama and Gov. Chrisitie with local officials and residents in Brigantine, on Wed. Oct. 31. Photo: Courtesy of Governor's Office/Tim Larsen

The historic storm that hit Atlantic City around 8 pm Monday night, Oct. 29, destroyed its coastline and part of its Boardwalk and submerged the resort in several feet of water. Thousands of power outages were reported in Atlantic and Cape May counties.

Electricity was restored in Atlantic City around 7 am Wednesday morning (in most sections of the city). For city residents who didn’t evacuate, low tides Wednesday morning allowed some — especially in the battered Uptown and Inlet sections of the city — to finally get out of their homes.

“Most of my friends left for Mays Landing on Sunday,” Nastassia Davis, an Atlantic City resident (and freelance photographer) told AC Weekly on Wednesday. “But I stayed. They aren’t going to be let back in the city, they say, until Friday.”

Davis says when she finally went outside after days of being trapped in her home due to the several feet of flood waters surrounding it, she saw wooden boards from a portion of the Boardwalk washed up across Revel Boulevard.

“It was flooded all the way up to the inlet and Uptown,” says Davis. “Whatever was in the street at the time — such as cars, including my grandfather’s — was ruined. The water was really deep, covering cars in the inlet. It was crazy and scary.”

The part of the Boardwalk that was washed away — from around Revel north to the Flagship building — was decades old and in need of repair. Other sections of the reconstructed Boardwalk are still intact, says Davis.

In nearby Somers Point, the iconic fishing pier off the municipal beach was washed away. Other towns suffered severe damages.

On Wednesday afternoon, Atlantic City Electric said that electricity had been restored to half of its customers impacted throughout the region, adding that 90 percent of the mainland customers’ power was expected to be restored by midnight on Sunday, Nov. 3.

The company says it may require more than a week to restore electric service to its customers in the barrier island communities.

Even Halloween was cancelled in the state when, on Wednesday morning, Oct. 31, Christie signed Executive Order 105, “postponing Halloween celebrations across New Jersey until Monday, November 5, 2012 as a result of continued unsafe conditions in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.”

Christie, who has been holding press briefings on the storm daily since last week, said in a statement:

“In too many communities in our state, the damage and losses from this storm are still being sorted out, and dangerous conditions abound even as our emergency management and response officials continue their work. As Governor, it is my responsibility to use all available resources of the state government to protect against the emergency created by Hurricane Sandy — postponing Halloween celebrations by five days is a commonsense and necessary step to accomplish that.”

Christie spent several hours on Tuesday in a helicopter touring the damage to the state and Jersey shore towns such as Avalon and Sea Isle. He commended President Barack Obama for his constant communication with regard to the state of emergency and his timely offering of FEMA and other assistance to the many people and businesses affected by the storm throughout the state.

In Sea Isle and nearby barrier islands in Cape May County — as with beach towns up and down the New Jersey coast  — the storm caused severe beach erosion.

Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio said on Tuesday he is not sure when residents will be allowed back on the island:

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1. Paul Schmid said... on Nov 7, 2012 at 11:40PM

“I applaud both Barack Obama and Chris Christie for doing something that the country needs in general, especially following the election — putting people before politics. Plain and Simple. Both men had "politics" somewhere in the back of their head no doubt when they toured the New Jersey shore and Atlantic City areas, but they both forgot about Republican, Democrat, Election Day, etc, and worked together to ensure OUR federal government - FEMA - would step up and help the so so many individuals, families, communities and businesses hurt by the storm, some, real bad. The NJ Shore will never be the same. However, Sandy, with all the tragic loss it's brought with it, has already created jobs for the region. Much-needed jobs. And, tho people and possessions lost can never ever be replaced, AC and the Jersey Shore will be back. The Jersey Shore Comeback will be in full effect come 2013 with the ACA, state, and casinos behind it. That old piece of bwlk is finally gone. Let's roll.”


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