Rising sea levels have some New Jersey barrier islands taking drastic actions

WABC logo
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

The rising sea level at the Jersey shore has some towns weighing a dramatic step, taking offers to buy and demolish homes in flood zones. Jeff Smith has more.

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Thursday marks one year since the remnants of Hurricane Ida moved across New Jersey, causing deadly and devastating damage.

The rising sea level at the Jersey shore has some towns weighing a dramatic step, taking offers to buy and demolish homes in flood zones.

But for some, retreat is out of the question.

For those barrier island communities, flooding is getting deeper and more frequent.

"It can be kind of scary when the water rises," Atlantic City resident Ruby Fletcher said. "I remember the last flood we had, the water came all the way up to the top of my stairs."

The shore is sinking from what scientists call the See-Saw Effect of melting glaciers much further north.

"The water's got to go somewhere because of that, and combinations with more intense storms, more precipitation, we're seeing a lot of more flooding, especially in the back barrier sections," said Kimberly McKenna, associate director of the Stockton University Coastal Research Center.

The state has offered to buy and demolish some homes in flood zones, but Atlantic City has another idea, spending $100 million on installing sea walls, pump stations and bulkheads.

"Those floods, what we may now call nuisance flooding, will turn into regular flooding," McKenna said. "And that's going to be persistent flooding. People won't be moving their cars. They will be moving their homes."

But moving a house isn't cheap, and it can cost $150,000 to saw apart a duplex home in a community like Atlantic City, raise it, and build new walls.

And that is a price that may be out of reach for many.

ALSO READ | Bear caught on doorbell camera passing through New Jersey neighborhood

----------

* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.