In coastal New Jersey, a flood of criticism for Christie follows storm

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NTP: In coastal New Jersey, a flood of criticism for Christie follows storm
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In coastal New Jersey, a flood of criticism for Christie follows storm
STONE HARBOR, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 24: Waves crash near a pier after a blizzard hit the region on January 24, 2016 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. A major snowstorm hit the East Coast over weekend breaking records of snow fall while causing flooding and ice in other areas along the Mid-Atlantic region. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images))
Coastal flooding from a winter snowstorm inundates houses along W. 7th Avenue, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in North Wildwood, N.J. (AP Photo/Robb Nunzio)
Coastal flooding from a winter snowstorm inundates houses along W. 7th Avenue, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in North Wildwood, N.J. (AP Photo/Robb Nunzio)
A man has the road to himself, as he carefully walks along a flooded Albany Avenue during a storm Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Atlantic City, N.J. Most of the state was facing a blizzard warning from Friday evening until Sunday that called for up to 24 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A van drives through a flooded street as ice and snow prevent drainage Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Atlantic City, N.J. Most of the state was facing a blizzard warning from Friday evening until Sunday that called for up to 24 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A police officer blocks a street near flooding during a storm Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Atlantic City. Most of the state was facing a blizzard warning from Friday evening until Sunday that called for up to 24 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Traffic creeps along during a snowstorm early Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Atlantic City. Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency in New Jersey Friday night as a major storm threatened to dump up to two feet of snow on parts of the state and cause flooding at the coast. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 23: Ice forms as the winter storm mixed with high tide causes flooding on Beach Avenue on January 23, 2016 in Cape May, New Jersey. A major snowstorm is upon the East Coast this weekend with some areas expected to receive over a foot of snow. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
STONE HARBOR, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 24: An employee of Fred's Tavern and Liquor cleans the floor of the liquor store after it flooded following a blizzard on January 24, 2016 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. A major snowstorm hit the East Coast over weekend breaking records of snow fall while causing flooding and ice in other areas along the Mid-Atlantic region. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images))
STONE HARBOR, NJ - JANUARY 23: A floating dock sits on the sidewalk following flooding during a blizzard January 23, 2016 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. A major snowstorm is upon the East Coast this weekend with some areas expected to receive over a foot of snow. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, NJ - JANUARY 23: Water surrounds a house on Stone Harbor Boulevard during a blizzard January 23, 2016 in Middle Township, New Jersey. A major snowstorm is upon the East Coast this weekend with some areas expected to receive over a foot of snow. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
STONE HARBOR, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 24: Employees from Skip Holtzapfel Builders Inc. clean out flood damage from a building following a blizzard on January 24, 2016 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. A major snowstorm hit the East Coast over weekend breaking records of snow fall while causing flooding and ice in other areas along the Mid-Atlantic region. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images))
STONE HARBOR, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 24: Employees of Fred's Tavern and Liquor clean out refrigerators outside of their store following a blizzard on January 24, 2016 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. A major snowstorm hit the East Coast over weekend breaking records of snow fall while causing flooding and ice in other areas along the Mid-Atlantic region. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images))
With an abandoned car in his flooded street behind, John Albright loads debris from his garage after flooding, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Sea Isle City, N.J. Residents in southern New Jersey's coastal towns continue to deal with flooding caused by the weekend's major snowstorm. Republican Gov. Chris Christie said minor to moderate flooding had occurred during Sunday morning's high tides, mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Susie Baumgardner, of Longport, N.J., watches out a window, as she and father drive along a flooded street to check on relatives early Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Sea Isle City, N.J. Residents in southern New Jersey's coastal towns continue to deal with flooding caused by the weekend's major snowstorm. Republican Gov. Chris Christie said minor to moderate flooding had occurred during Sunday morning's high tides, mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A flooded street is seen Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Sea Isle City, N.J. Residents in southern New Jersey's coastal towns continue to deal with flooding caused by the weekend's major snowstorm. Republican Gov. Chris Christie said minor to moderate flooding had occurred during Sunday morning's high tides, mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
STONE HARBOR, NJ - JANUARY 24: Signs warned beach goers not to enter after a blizzard on January 24, 2016 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. A major snowstorm hit the East Coast over weekend breaking records of snow fall while causing flooding and ice in other areas along the Mid-Atlantic region. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images))
NORTH WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 24: A car sits on a flooded street after a blizzard hit the region on January 24, 2016 in North Wildwood, New Jersey. A major snowstorm hit the East Coast over weekend breaking records of snow fall while causing flooding and ice in other areas along the Mid-Atlantic region. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images))
STONE HARBOR, NJ - JANUARY 23: Jim Hand, owner of Fred's Tavern and Liquor Store, lets water out of his store after it floodedduring a blizzard January 23, 2016 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. A major snowstorm is upon the East Coast this weekend with some areas expected to receive over a foot of snow. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
A man stops to make a photograph as he walks on a flooded street early Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Sea Isle City, N.J. Residents in southern New Jersey's coastal towns continue to deal with flooding caused by the weekend's major snowstorm. Republican Gov. Chris Christie said minor to moderate flooding had occurred during Sunday morning's high tides, mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
With an abandoned car stuck nearby on their flooded street, John Albright and wife Patti Albright clean debris from their garage after flooding, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Sea Isle City, N.J. Residents in southern New Jersey's coastal towns continue to deal with flooding caused by the weekend's major snowstorm. Republican Gov. Chris Christie said minor to moderate flooding had occurred during Sunday morning's high tides, mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Rich Pass sprays a bleach cleaner in his garage to prevent mold after flooding Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Sea Isle City, N.J. Residents in southern New Jersey's coastal towns continue to deal with flooding caused by the weekend's major snowstorm. Republican Gov. Chris Christie said minor to moderate flooding had occurred during Sunday morning's high tides, mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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(Reuters) - Residents of New Jersey's southern shorefront towns on Monday cleaned up homes and businesses flooded by a storm surge during the weekend's massive blizzard and rued what they described as Governor Chris Christie's dismissive treatment of the damage.

The storm that walloped Washington and New York with about 2 feet (60 cm) of snow hit coastal Cape May County in New Jersey with tides higher than those measured during 2012's Superstorm Sandy, sending salt water into properties and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate.

Jim Hand voiced exasperation as he surveyed the damage at Fred's Tavern in Stone Harbor, a bar and liquor store about 35 miles (56 km) down the coast from Atlantic City. Hand, a member of the third generation of his family to own the shop, said that the property's kitchen, electrical wiring and floors would all need to be replaced.

"We're doing the same thing today we did after Sandy," said Hand, 61.

He was one of a handful of local business owners to criticize comments by Christie, a Republican White House contender who told CNN on Sunday that he had "no concerns" about flooding as a result of the storm.

"Keep this in perspective," Christie told CNN during a one-day return to the state from the campaign trail in New Hampshire. "Cape May County area was the least flooded area during Hurricane Sandy and had almost no damage in that area."

No immediate estimate of the financial toll of the flooding damage was available but reinsurance broker Aon Benfield said that total insured losses along the East Coast will run into the billions of dollars.

Hand had no patience for Christie's words, saying, "It shows you how out of touch he is with what's going on in his state."

NJ Residents Rip Chris Christie After Snowstorm

Angry comments from New Jersey residents immediately flashed across Twitter and raged into Monday, some showing images of street flooding and tagged to Christie with comments like "nothing to see here."

Christie spokesman Brian Murray said that the governor's words had been taken out of context.

"Cape May County and lower Atlantic County did not sustain the direct hit from Sandy suffered by more northern parts of the Jersey Shore. But the governor did not say they were not impacted by Sandy," Murray said. "He only cautioned news reporters to use some context when pointing to Saturday's flooding in Cape May and saying it's 'Worse than Sandy.'"

Sandy was directly responsible for 147 deaths in the United States, destroying more than 650,000 homes around the greater New York area and causing nearly $50 billion in damage.

Christie said in a statement on Monday that he had sent teams to the storm-hit areas to determine whether the damage was severe enough to seek federal assistance, a process that he said could take days.

Children's clothing store owner Maggie Day sprayed an anti-bacterial mix over her ruined merchandise as she surveyed the damage to her shop in Stone Harbor in Cape May County.

"I did walk away from Sandy with a lot of damage," said Day, 39, who had to replace flooring, walls, insulation and merchandise after the 2012 storm and was working with a "water excavator" to get a handle on the latest damage.

"It's not even help that I'm asking for," Day said. "It's just a little bit of compassion with a public leader on TV. You can't pooh-pooh it publicly when you're a leader."

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Shumaker)

Related: See Christie on his 2016 campaign trail:

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Chris Christie on the campaign trail
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In coastal New Jersey, a flood of criticism for Christie follows storm
Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks as he meets with a supporter before a news conference Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets Fidelity Investments employees, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, at their facility in Merrimack, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens to a briefing on a snowstorm during a visit to the New Jersey Department of Transportation Traffic Management and Technology Center, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Woodbridge, N.J. Towns across the state are hunkering down during a major snowstorm that hit overnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Republican Presidential hopeful Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 3, 2015. (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie steps off the bus with his wife Mary Pat during a campaign stop at the launch of his four day bus tour, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Exeter, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
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Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with Joan Vlangas, left, during a campaign stop at a Greek festival in Manchester, N.H., Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - AUGUST 25: New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie speaks at Chabad House at Rutgers University to express his opposition to President Obama's Iran deal on August 25, 2015 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Christie also encouraged U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to oppose the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, talks with Joe Hedrick at the Iowa State Fair Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 22: Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tosses a pork burger on the grill at the Iowa Pork Producers Tent at the Iowa State Fair on August 22, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates have a long tradition of making campaign stops at the fair. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Moderator Campbell Brown listens as Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during an education summit, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in Londonderry, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks to potential voters during a campaign town hall meeting, Thursday, July 2, 2015, in Rochester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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