Boardwalks, amusement parks and beach homes were no match for the mighty storm known as Sandy, which battered the New Jersey shoreline with a vengeance the state governor termed "unthinkable."
"The level of devastation at the Jersey Shore is unthinkable," Christie said at the morning press conference. “Beyond anything I thought I'd ever see.”
"The level of devastation at the Jersey Shore is unthinkable."
- N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
From Cape May to Sandy Hook, the state’s vaunted shoreline was devastated, with entire towns underwater, homes uprooted and most of the barrier islands completely washed away.
A State Police helicopter sent up National Guardsmen who relayed images of coastal communities including Lavallette, Seaside Park, and Seaside Heights.
"All are nearly completely underwater," Christie said. "Houses are off their foundations. There are houses in the middle of Route 35."
Also cast out the sea were large sections of boardwalk in Atlantic City and Seaside Heights, where the venerable Casino Pier was busted apart like matchsticks, leaving the Jet-Star roller coaster and Log Flume ride in the ocean.
At least 2.4 million people, twice the number of people who lost power during last year’s Hurricane Irene, were without power in New Jersey and the coast was not the only area of the state that suffered damage.
A storm surge caused the Hackensack River in Bergen County to breach one of its levees, causing massive flooding and evacuations of the towns of Moonachie and Little Ferry.
Hundreds of National Guard vehicles have been sent out throughout the state to assist with evacuations.
President Obama, who plans to personally survey affected areas in the state on Tuesday, declared much of the state a disaster area, including Atlantic, Cape May, and Ocean counties.
Obama said Tuesday at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington that the storm "is not yet over." He said there are still risks of flooding and downed power lines and called the storm "heartbreaking for the nation."
Officials said NJ Transit remains shut down, as there is damage on nearly every rail line in the state.
Christie also said officials are “nowhere near” allowing residents to return to the shore.
The Associated Press also contributed reporting to this story.