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

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

11 PHOTOS
NTP: In coastal New Jersey, a flood of criticism for Christie follows storm
See Gallery
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))
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))
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)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

(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:

10 PHOTOS
Chris Christie on the campaign trail
See Gallery
In coastal New Jersey, a flood of criticism for Christie follows storm
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)
Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
THIS WEEK - 10/4/15 - Presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appears on THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, waves while waiting for Pope Francis, not pictured, to arrive for a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Pope Francis, the first pontiff to address U.S. Congress, is preaching to a less-than-harmonious congregation as he faces a Congress riven by disputes over issues closest to his heart: income inequality, immigration and climate change. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0319 -- Pictured: (l-r) Governor Chris Christie during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on August 31, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SQUAWK BOX -- Pictured: Governor Chris Christie in an interview on August 27, 2015 -- (Photo by: David Orrell/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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)
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)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

More from AOL.com:
Officer who played basketball with kids brings Shaq along this time
UFO sightings are common in tiny Colorado town
Designers show latest luxury creations at Paris haute couture

Read Full Story

From Our Partners