BELMAR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Nine years after Superstorm Sandy, CBS2’s Meg Baker takes a look back at the recovery along the Jersey Shore.

The 100-year storm cost New Jersey more than $30 billion.

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In 2012, the ocean overpowered the land, creating an inlet in Mantoloking. Waves met the Barnegat Bay, slicing through the barrier island.

“My home ended up in the bay,” one woman said.

In the aftermath, homes looked like heaps of debris.

“Route 35 over there had about five feet of sand on it. It was a mess, and people were very, very, very discouraged, very scared for their futures,” Mantoloking Mayor Lance White told CBS2’s Meg Baker.

“My wife had prepared food and preparations for people returning. Little did we know that people were not going to be returning,” Mantoloking resident and office of emergency management coordinator Robert McIntyre said. “We lost, disappeared, 40 homes overnight. Sixty altogether collapsed, and the rest, it was 100%, everybody damaged.”

Some lots remain empty today, but most rebuilt. Ten-plus million dollar homes now cover the beachfront of Mantoloking. A steel wall was put in to literally hold the beach in place.

Watch Chris Wragge’s report —

A few miles south, Ortley Beach was known as Ground Zero. Sand piled up inside homes. Protective dunes now stand 22 feet high.

“All hell broke loose … It looked like a war zone,” said Louis Amoruso, who was the Toms River director of public works at the time.

“People built back higher, better, stronger. If you drive around the Ortley Beach area, you’ll see a lot of the homes are elevated 8-10 feet,” Toms River Mayor Mo Hill said.

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In Monmouth County, water sat inland on the streets of Belmar. Matt Doherty was mayor then.

“That entire night, we just were busy going around, house to house, rescuing people, getting people out,” Doherty said.

What he remembers most is people coming together to help each other.

“It’s one of those times to reflect on and think about and hopefully it never happens again,” he said.

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Shore residents who spoke to CBS2’s Meg Baker said there was no way they were going to leave the area. Not even Sandy could chase them away.

“It’s a lifestyle,” Toms River resident John Mindnich said.

“The area is beautiful now, and it’s very, very desirable. People want to be here. It’s the Jersey Shore,” Amoruso said.

Most say the risk is worth the everyday reward of taking a walk by the beach.

The Army Corps of Engineers is due back in the area in 2022. Ortley Beach will get more sand to widen the beaches and shore up some soft spots where the ocean continues to breach.

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CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team