Tornado damage reminds NJ residents of Sandy's destruction

May 21, 2013 2:11:51 PM PDT
Watching the pictures of the devastation in Oklahoma is striking a chord with some at the Jersey shore who live through destruction like that and are still recovering.

"Oh your heart goes out to them I mean and the deaths compared to here," said Ortley Beach resident.

The landscape after a tornado doesn't look much different than after a hurricane. Just ask the people in Ocean County.

Mother nature blasts through the shore, or through a swath of Oklahoma, and the result is hauntingly similar.

"They are identical when you take a look at the devastation," said Chuck Grinnell of Ortley Beach. "It's just so complete."

That's why Grinnell and other victims of Super Storm Sandy can understand what the people of Moore and other tornado-ravaged towns are going through today.

"We were very fortunate with respect to loss of life," said Grinnell. "But loss of property here, it's just enormous. And the loss to the heart is really very difficult to take, especially in the beginning."

After Sandy, residents who lost everything picked through what was left, searching for mementos and belongings from life before the storm. They're doing that in Oklahoma too.

One woman, whose house was destroyed, says you hope to find whatever you can.

"You want to kind of take something back of yours, your personal belongings," said Amy McConnell of Toms River. "Like, some people lost everything, and if you can find that one thing, it helps."

After the shock wears off, shore residents say tornado victims can expect frustration if they, too, have to wait more than six months for FEMA grants and insurance settlements to rebuild the way they've had to here.

"The dollar figure that comes back is like $.60 on the dollar," said Grinnell, "and you just shake your head and go, like, 'What do I do now?'"

Whether it's the Midwest or the Jersey shore, our hearts go out to the victims who have to deal with such loss, and a very long road to recovery.