Ocean City flooding
Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Hornick.

As a child, Suzanne Hornick vacationed at her family’s beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey. Now, she lives there year-round.

Hornick: “I’ve been sittin’ on this corner since the early 60’s.”

She says over the years, flooding has gotten worse.

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Hornick: “Right now, there are some areas on the island that flood at every high tide. Almost any time it rains, it’s flooded around the elementary school. Our police and firefighters go down and carry the children … Their parents let them out on the other side of the street where it’s not flooded, and they, in waders, carry the children over to the school.”

Hornick worries about bacteria in the floodwater.

Hornick: “I stay inside because I know how dirty the water is. Tourists come down and they play in this water because they think it’s funny to take a raft and go ride around in the floodwater. They don’t realize how dangerous it is.”

The flooding will get worse as sea levels rise. So Hornick takes pictures to document the problem. And she leads a local group that urges the city to prepare – for example, by improving their stormwater drainage systems.

Hornick: “I think what we can do is face it head on and meet those challenges instead of burying our head in the beach sand.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Sara Peach

Sara Peach is the Senior Editor of Yale Climate Connections. She is an environmental journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Environmental Health News, Grist, and...