Fred McPeek is no stranger to high tides and hurricanes.
Since he moved to Beach Drive in 1985, his family has weathered about five strong storms in Cliffwood Beach on the Raritan Bay.
McPeek went through the motions before Sandy just as he had done with Irene. He boarded up the windows, moved the car to higher ground, and lined his garage door with a tarp and sandbags.
Sandy, however, proved to be the worst storm McPeek had ever seen.
"The water came all the way up to here," he said, motioning to a water mark about six feet above ground level.
Everything on their first floor was destroyed. A sixty-inch TV, a laptop, office furniture and a bathroom were all submerged when the storm rolled through Monday night. Their backyard was lined with debris ranging from twigs and seaweed to furniture and a jetski.
The street was evacuated prior to the storm, however McPeek and his wife decided to stay in place after two individuals attempted to break in to their home while they were preparing to leave, McPeek said.
"We could hear the wind," he said. "I was up all night. You can't sleep when you know your home is being destroyed."
Tuesday morning, once the wind had calmed and the tides had receeded, McPeek's neighbors began returning to evaluate the damage to their properties.
Ida Dakar moved into a home facing the seawall only two weeks ago with her husband. They have a clear view of Raritan Bay, but with the house sitting up on a small hill she never imagined the water would reach them.
"I just moved in. Everything in my garage is ruined. Two new mattresses are ruined, a king sized mattress and a queen sized mattress," she said as she tried to remove debris from her driveway.
Huge chunks of concrete, which once formed a seawall, were strewn about the road and Dakar's driveway.
"How am I supposed to get these off my driveway?" she wondered out loud, looking down at the concrete.
Although the clean up is a daunting project, McPeek is just happy that he and his neighbors are safe.
"It could have been much worse," he said.