Experts see future floods for Jersey shore
LONG BEACH ISLAND, N.J. - March 15, 2012 (WPVI) -- Scientists from the Princeton-based research group Climate Central say rising sea levels have tripled the likelihood that in the coming years Jersey shore towns will experience flooding like never before.
"It's very likely that within the next 15 or 20 years that there'll be major coastal flooding in New Jersey with hundreds of thousands of homes underwater," researcher Richard Wiles told Action News.
Wiles said research shows that because of climate change the earth is warming. Polar ice caps are melting and the ocean is expanding, driving sea levels up 8 inches in the last century, perhaps 15 inches more over the next 40 years.
"That means when we have storm surges like Irene that they're going to be launching from a higher platform and more homes will be flooded," said Wiles.
Researchers have developed detailed flood risk maps that project what it would look like. 236,000 Jersey shore beach and bay residents are in the flood zone.
And a storm surge of about 5 feet above the high tide line major portions of Atlantic City are going to be under water," said Wiles.
Towns like Ventnor would be flooded clear through from the back bays to the ocean.
"As time goes on with these Nor'easters that we have you can't control Mother Nature," said Walter Kucharski of Little Egg Harbor. "It's the way it's going to go. It's just going to totally destroy this place at one time sooner or later.
"I worry about other things like the economy, who's going to be president," said George Roma of Beach Haven Terrace. "What are we going to do about all the problems we have right now, not 30 years from now."
"As the seas come up, beach erosion, the storm I believe it was '62 when the bay met the ocean?" said Anna Kornse of Ship Bottom. "It's going to happen again so I mean it's very scary."
Climate control scientists say unless the global warming threat is taken seriously and acted on, the flooding they predict isn't a matter of if, but when.
new jersey, flooding, princeton, jersey shore, local/state, nora muchanic
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