The New Jersey Shore was ground zero for Superstorm Sandy two years ago, as the storm came onshore near Brigantine, New Jersey, just north of Atlantic City. The storm's super-sized surge wiped out thousands of houses, along with roads, power lines, and the region's famed beachfront boardwalks.

Two years after the storm, the effects are still super. The New York Daily News reports one of the worst-hit areas, the town of Ortley Beach (see: "Jersey Shore still full of empty lots two years after Hurricane Sandy as residents struggle to rebuild," by Rich Shapiro). Writes the Daily News: "A year ago, The News reported that a shocking 23 lots remained empty. Seven homes were still upright but uninhabitable. Only five had been rebuilt. In the past 12 months, just three homes have been rebuilt, raising the total to eight. Three have been renovated and are now livable. Six are under construction, two are vacant shells and a total of 16 lots remain empty." Said contractor Brian Merkel, who is rebuilding a house there: ""Is it gonna be better? One day it might be. But just look around here. We're still three to four years away."

In a wider look, the Asbury Park Press saw some progress on the shore (see: "Sandy at two — improvements slow but steady," by Todd B. Bates and Russ Zimmer). Reports the paper: "The Asbury Park Press surveyed hard-hit municipalities in Monmouth and Ocean counties on their recovery efforts and found wide-ranging issues. Some local officials said their towns are well on the road to recovery. Others said the glass is only half full and rehabilitation will take years.  In Union Beach, less than a tenth of the 1,800 homes flooded with at least 2 feet of water during Sandy have been elevated, according to Jennifer Maier, borough administrator."

Concludes the Press: "Recovery from the epic tempest, by far the state's costliest natural disaster, may take at least several more years."