Residents of some of New Jersey's hardest-hit towns cried and grabbed what they could after returning to see the damage caused by Sandy's floodwaters.
"It's gone. Everything we worked for, look at it. Who is going to help us? Nobody,” said Seaside Heights resident Florence Rodriguez.
For Flores Rodriquez, the brief return to her Seaside Heights home Friday was worse than she was prepared to handle. Rodriguez and her fiancé, Paul Stillwell, where among the more than one thousand residents who were bussed to the barrier island to take inventory of the muddy and costly damage superstorm Sandy left behind.
“All our beds are damaged. All the furniture is destroyed. So everything is going to have to be replaced,” said Stillwell.
Tensions escalated at times as residents of one of New Jersey's hardest-hit towns anxiously grabbed what they could after returning to see the damage caused by Sandy's floodwaters.
Residents had only four hours to assess damage, throw out garbage and throw whatever they could into suitcases before getting back on the bus.
“It’s just devastating because you can’t go back. We have a couple hours, we have to take…and that’s it,” said Joanne Miller, a resident.
Authorities also conducted so-called "controlled returns'' at other hard hit New Jersey towns including Toms River, Berkeley Township and Long Beach Township.
Most grabbed warm winter clothing. Temperatures were at or near the 60s before the storm hit. Lows on Friday morning were in the 30s.
Rick Baldasano’s Seaside Heights home was built in 1954. It never flooded until Sandy hit the Jersey Shore more than a week ago.
“I was kinda hoping that we would go unscathed but it didn’t happen,” said Baldasono.
A short re-entry period on designated streets is being allowed through Tuesday for people who own or rent property in Seaside Heights, according to authorities.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie held a press conference on Friday in which he said life will start returning to normal for most people in New Jersey by Monday Morning. He hopes to have power restored 100% by Saturday night.
“We’re tough folks and we don’t mess around,” said Gov. Christie. “We’ve got a lot of resilience that we’ve shown over the last two weeks. The rest of the country has gotten to learn exactly what I already know and what I’ve been proudly pronouncing all over the country since I’ve been governor. The people in this state are among the toughest and grittiest people anywhere in the United States.”