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Devastation At The Jersey Shore

Hurricane Sandy caused billions of dollars in property damage to a tourism region that caters heavily to the Philadelphia suburbs. Can it recover in time for next summer?

As disruptive as Hurricane Sandy was when it reached the Philadelphia suburbs, its impact along the New Jersey coastline was devastating.

Here, the storm shut down businesses and schools while knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people.

But on the shore towns where it made landfall, Sandy altered the entire coastline, maybe forever.

The storm inundated towns along New Jersey's barrier islands, washing away beaches, amusements, and stretches of boardwalk while causing property damage expected to cost billions of dollars to repair.

"I flew over the Seaside Heights boardwalk today. The roller coaster, the log flume ride are in the ocean," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told Brian Williams of NBC News on Tuesday evening.

Earlier Tuesday, though, Christie had expressed optimism that the region would recover quickly.

"I’m fully convinced that it will be rebuilt, that we’ll get things ready for next summer," Christie told reporters.

That's going to require a lot of construction and dump trucks full of dune-rebuilding sand over the next six months.

Signs of the storm's fury were evident up and down the coastline.

More than 40,000 people remained without power in the shore towns of Barnegat and Manahawkin and on Long Beach Island on Tuesday. Police in the Long Beach Island town of Harvey Cedars told residents that roadways were "dangerous and impassable" and that it could be more than a week before anyone would be allowed to return to the island.

Authorities in Brigantine were giving similar estimates for the restoration of power there, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"There is lots of property damage," Stafford Township Mayor John Spodofora said. "We're going to lose lots of homes in Beach Haven West," which faces Long Beach Island from the mainland.

In Ocean City, a mandatory evacuation that began over the weekend continued Tuesday.

"Ocean City is not safe right now," Mayor Jay Gillian said.

Two of the city's sewage treatment facilities were said to be out of commission amid streets that were littered with debris and lined with storm-damaged homes.

As of Tuesday morning, up to 80 percent of Atlantic City was underwater, officials there said. Thomas Foley, the city’s chief of emergency management, reportedly told The New York Times that the city was "under siege."

Though estimates still are preliminary, Sandy is said to have caused up to $20 billion in damages across the Northeast. Only about half of that is expected to be covered by insurance.

Patch editors Douglas Bergan, Colleen Platt, and Tom Davis contributed to this report.

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