Edit: Shortly after the publication of this blog post the New Jersey bayshore was struck by tropical storm Isaias in early August 2020 that did more dollar damage than any other storm and wiped out 3 of the remaining 12 homes at Money Island. The storm brought unprecedented waves exceeding ten feet directly on the properties on the western creek bank that caused substantial damage to Baysave managed properties.
Storms are an important part of the New Jersey story, but not something that we’ve talked about much lately. In fact, its been a year since the last edition of “Great Storms of the Jersey Shore” with no need for updates. I recently purchased a read a book specifically about the tidal wave that hit the bayshore region back in 1950. The accounts of our history invariably center around the life-changing effects of storms.
“The reality is, according to numerous scientific studies, these types of storms are already becoming much more frequent and with greater intensity, due to rising global temperatures and climate change, and will continue on this pattern. In fact, one study determined the heaviest 1 percent of rain events in the Northeast region of the United States have increased by 42 percent since the 1950s.” – Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a statement following the city’s flooding last month.
In other words, normal weather events and minor storms will cause more damage in the future than in the past. These are not headline events, but powerful subtle forces at work.
This past year has been unusually calm; NJ weather seldom made the news. Unusually powerful weather events have not affected too many of us lately. This can lull us into a sense of complacency. But east coast shore towns are still facing more frequent flooding and other storm effects will return for the rest of us.
Here in our town of Money Island on the Delaware Bay, routine tidal flow – and not so much storm effect – is now causing more damage as the moving water carries more energy to higher levels. We will certainly see more destruction of infrastructure ahead as community rebuilding with new wet-flood-proof technologies does not keep pace with ongoing erosion.