UNION BEACH, N.J. – Officials and residents in towns throughout coastal areas of New York and New Jersey will take stock of the recovery from Superstorm Sandy on the second anniversary of the storm.
The October 2012 storm devastated the oceanfront coastline and caused catastrophic flooding in New York and cities in New Jersey, including Hoboken and Jersey City.
The storm was blamed for at least 182 deaths and $65 billion in damage in the U.S. The anniversary is Wednesday.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro will meet with affected residents in Union Beach, New Jersey, on Wednesday morning. In the afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie will see the revitalized business area in Belmar.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio and elected officials will attend the Light the Shore Anniversary of the storm at 4 p.m. on the Boardwalk on Staten Island. In the Rockaways, New York Sen. James Sanders Jr. will host a forum with federal, state and city officials on the future of the area damaged by the storm as well as a memorial service for those who lost their lives.
Two years after the storm, there are some concrete signs of tougher protections, from a nearly-finished sea wall protecting two devastated New Jersey towns to a Long Island boardwalk rebuilt to serve as a retaining wall. New floodgates protect a power plant where Sandy plunged miles of Manhattan into darkness and some homes sit higher while other buildings boast new flood barriers.
Enhanced preparedness has hardened backup power systems at hospitals, forged new systems to flood-proof subway vents, installed generators at dozens of gas stations to run pumps in a power outage, redrawn evacuation-zone maps and reshaped emergency plans for managing problems from debris to traffic.
But many planned projects are still years off and some ideas still under study. Thousands of homeowners await repair aid, some of it coupled with steps to make homes safer. Some efforts to buy out flood-prone homes haven't gotten takers in the worst-hit areas. And across the coast, a patchwork of protections leaves some areas more vulnerable than others.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC