The mayor of Long Beach Island is reeling from the devastation from Hurricane Sandy in his Ocean County community.
"It's the worst we've seen in 50 years. The '62 storm was 50 years ago" said Mayor Joe Mancini.
Sandy decimated the dunes that protected beachfront homes. The force of the storm wiped out stairs and tore away the lowest level of some houses.
One resident told NBC10 "we've had storms, we've had water, but never, ever expected to have water like this. It was like a river through here".
About one-thousand people stayed on the island during the storm. Meredith Howard was one of them.
"Why would you stay on a barrier island? It wasn't exactly what we wanted to do" she said. "We weren't sitting there going oh, we want to stay her, being defiant. That wasn't the case. This is where we live, we have no place that we felt we could go that was safer."
The National Guard got them off the island on Wednesday. It may be a week before people will be allowed to return and check on their property.