As I left the office last night after being here since 10:30 Monday morning, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

My neighbors were able to text me on Tuesday morning and let me know that power was out and that "a tree just missed" my house. But I wasn't sure what that meant exactly until this morning. Things here in Berkeley Township by work seemed to be relatively normal, a few power outages, but traffic lights and street lights were mostly on. My drive home on the Garden State Parkway was relatively normal. 

Then I got off at exit 90. 

I was presented with a bizarre, blackened landscape. No traffic lights, no street lights, businesses and homes all in the dark. Last night drivers were relatively calm and courteous, coming to full stops at darkened intersections and proceeding slowly. Which you really had to do because there were still some branches in the road, and without street lights you couldn't see them until you were practically on top of them. 

When I pulled into my neighborhood, it was a surreal scene again. Full parking lots, but not one light. As I parked, I saw neighbors flip on flashlights, wondering who was there. Considering the darkness, all I could see by flashlight was a tangle of tree limbs next to my house. I had to wait until daylight to see just how lucky I was. 

This morning, when I went to take my dog out, I got a good look. As you can see in the picture above, I was very lucky. My neighbors were kind enough to call workers immediately to cut the branches that did land on my roof, but they pointed out where my gutter was dented by the part of the tree that did fall on my house. If the tree had fallen inches in any other direction, it would have hit a skylight that is in my living room. 

That being said, I know how lucky I am. Many residents of Toms River, Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, Mantoloking, and many other areas have lost everything. And it's just now, in the daylight of "the day after" that the extent of the destruction is sinking in. 

Please remember that, as Ocean County's Hometown Station, we are here for you, and we will be here throughout the duration of Hurricane Sandy's aftermath.