BY FRAN BARONOWITZ
Living near the shore has always had its moments of disaster. There was the hurricane of 1944 that battered the Jersey shore. Eighteen years later in 1962, 50 mph winds and 9 foot tides caused damage in Atlantic City and Margate. In 1992, my son lost his car in an 8 foot tide while I was at work.
Full moons and new moons during bad weather have always created higher tides.
But lately we are seeing more drastic weather patterns and sunny day flooding. The Black Horse Pike floods and we have to use the expressway or the Longport Causeway. The Causeway has been flooding more often too though. Multiple times a month our streets flood even though major roads have been raised. Taxpayers continue to foot the bill for road repairs as our neighborhoods take on the stress of climate change.
This past Nor’Easter I lost my car. My yard normally floods so I moved it one street up. My yard didn’t flood this time, but the street took on water and the salt corroded underneath my car. My insurance company took nearly a month to decide my car was totaled. We don’t complain about the flooding, because we’ve become used to it. And sadly, no one is tracking the cost of property damage caused by flooding. This damage can include our vehicles, our homes, our health.
I grew up at the shore where I made lifelong friendships. I got married and raised my children at the shore. I dedicated myself to local children at CHOP and Children’s Seashore House. When I attend community events, I often run into a former patient who still remembers me. Currently, I volunteer with Jewish Family Services and there are people that count on me. My community is important to me and I have no intention of leaving my home or the people I love and am connected to.
I lost my home in Superstorm Sandy. I worked really hard to rebuild not just the structure but the life my family spent decades creating. In 2014, I was able to move in to exactly the same home with the exception of now being 6 feet in the air. Since that time I have been documenting the increased and intensified flooding that happens with certain tides and stronger summer & winter storms. When I flip through the photo and see how my neighborhood is changing I know we have to take action.
Ventnor is my home and I believe that together, we can find solutions to help us adapt to climate change and mitigate flooding.