A new video emerged this week, nearly five years to the day Superstorm Sandy battered the Jersey Shore, showing the storm’s brutal onslaught in the Normandy Beach neighborhood of Ocean County’s northern barrier island.
The video, which was uploaded to YouTube Tuesday, shows detailed footage of the storm’s initial wind and rough surf, then the dunes breaching and sea water running down neighborhood streets. It also shows, from a few blocks south, the fire that destroyed the Camp Osborn community.
The video was shot by Scott Zabelski, a local who also owns Blue Water Printing, the company that popularized the “Restore the Shore” shirts that were sold during recovery. The proceeds of the t-shirts were donated to charity.
The family has owned a home two houses from the beach since 1954, said Bart Zabelski, the uncle of Scott Zabelski. Shortly after the storm, he wrote a letter to the Asbury Park Press detailing his experiencing riding it out. He provided a copy of that letter to Shorebeat today.
“When I walked near the beach just before land fall at garage doors of the ocean fronts blowing out from the ocean and water flowing down my street I knew I was in trouble,” he wrote in the letter. “Four foot waves were braking on my street in front of my house and I knew if I was going to survive I had to get up on the 2nd floor as fast as I could . Looking out in the north I could see Camp Osborn burning with flames clearly visible 75 feet in the air. My house was shuttering with every wind gust that was near 85 mph. I moved myself into the center of my house and prayed I would get out of this .”
Normandy Beach, a neighborhood with its own ZIP code split between Brick and Toms River townships, suffered significant damage, including fully destroyed homes and infrastructure.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from the Zabelski family.