Hurricane season is not over. Even when we begin to feel a hint of autumn in the air, the tropics can still be cooking up a mess of trouble.
In late October 2012, we tracked a tropical storm that later became a hurricane — one for the record books — as it pounded the eastern shoreline on its way toward landfall in New Jersey.
As Sandy skirted our area, storm surge flooded our lawns and streets as huge waves collapsed coastal sea walls and swept away our beaches. All while the sun was shining.
One year later, most of the damage has been repaired. But “fixing” sea walls and beaches has not been cheap. And where the money and the sand and the solutions will come from when the next storm comes (and it will) has been the topic of dozens of meetings and symposiums during the past several months.
In this edition, Cheryl Blackerby shares what she has learned from these discussions and explains the concerns that will drive our emergency beach planning in the future. With tourism and real estate at the core of our local economy, we must begin exploring long-term solutions to assure continued investment (personal and economic) in our coastal communities.
And the beachfront is just part of the concern. In our November edition we will take a look at what rising sea level means for the future of the barrier island. As FEMA redraws flood maps and construction codes adapt, we will all be pondering the security of our homes and businesses — not only during the high autumnal tides that already flood parts of A1A, Briny Breezes and many Intracoastal Waterway lawns — but also the surge that accompanies a hurricane. Even one like Sandy that arrives while the sun is shining.
Mary Kate Leming