April 28, 2016
By Sam Phillips, Rick Flinn, and MaryAnn Tierney Pennsylvania is one of the most flood-prone states in the nation, with Philadelphia and the southeastern region being the most susceptible, according to the commonwealth's 2013 Hazard Mitigation Plan. Storms that create flooding often are part of severe weather systems that also include thunder, lightning, and tornadoes. The costliest natural disaster in the United States in 2015 was due to severe thunderstorms, which caused approximately $13.4 billion in losses according to Statista, a website that culls and analyzes statistics.
May 30, 2015 |
Two and a half years ago, Krista Sperber rode out Hurricane Sandy inside her Belmar home. She; her husband, Michael Irwin; and a few neighbors gathered for a hurricane party, and watched as five feet of water surrounded their neighborhood in 15 minutes, she said. "In hindsight, the storm was the fun part," she said Thursday as she sat on a red, white, and blue bus surrounded by 20 other members of the New Jersey Organizing Project. The group was created by Sandy survivors seven months ago to put pressure on state officials to fix the state's troubled "reconstruction, rehabilitation, elevation, and mitigation" (RREM)
April 21, 2015 |
It's spring: Time to head to the Jersey Shore, smell the Atlantic, and daydream about buying a beach place. Albert Slap and Bob Hubbell, long-ago Penn grads, have started a service in Florida they hope buyers and lenders will consult before signing off on 30 years of payments in these times of rising waters. In some Shore neighborhoods, it could be a real estate buzz-killer. Slap, a onetime public-interest lawyer whose Sierra Club lawsuit curbed Philadelphia's sewage dumping way back in 1979, and Hubbell, past spokesman for the accounting firm KPMG, own Coastal Risk Consulting L.L.C.
March 15, 2015 |
Homeowners are taking on the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its efforts to redraw the nation's flood-zone maps by 2017. The leader of this fight is Toms River, N.J., homeowner George Kasimos, who discovered that because of FEMA's new map for his town he must pay nearly $7,000 a year for flood insurance, rather than the current $1,000. Toms River property owners were so upset that they filed an appeal of the FEMA map revisions and won. But that wasn't enough for Kasimos, a Realtor who runs a national group, Stop FEMA Now, that gained traction after a March 1 report on 60 Minutes about fraud among engineers hired to assess post-Sandy insurance claims.
December 5, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Worried that Hurricane Sandy victims could be shortchanged by what a judge recently called "reprehensible gamesmanship," New Jersey Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker pressed a key federal official Wednesday to force the release of documents that they say could expose deceptive practices by some insurers. Menendez and Booker, both Democrats, met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, Craig Fugate, after a New York court case ended with a magistrate judge ordering documents to be released to New Yorkers who may have been misled by insurers.
May 11, 2014 |
The hum of gas-powered generators and the smell of mildew filled the air Friday at the Manayunk Brewing Co. as a crew worked. Cases of the company's canned beer on wooden pallets lined a wall outside the 18,000-square-foot restaurant, brewery, and banquet room on Main Street in the city's Manayunk section. What was missing on this afternoon was the lunchtime crowd - and the lights. More than a week after torrential rain caused massive flooding in the community along the Schuylkill, the 18-year-old craft brewery remained without power after 51/2 feet of river water deluged the former textile mill and ruined its electrical system.
May 5, 2014 |
WEST NORRITON TWP. The wood-paneled home at 10 Indian Lane fronting the Schuylkill in West Norriton Township is dwarfed by its neighbors. For more than three decades, owner Lila Frost has lived through nearly a dozen storms that caused the river to swell and lap into houses on her street. Over the years, one-by-one, she has seen construction crews arrive to elevate her neighbors' homes, creating concrete garages at the ground level and flood-proof living spaces. All the while, Frost has taken her chances and held her lower ground.
May 4, 2014 |
Ryan Houck was at work at Tri-Tech Automotive on Jefferson Avenue in Downingtown when he saw the water approaching from down the street Wednesday. Within minutes, the flood was at his feet. "I felt like I was on the Titanic," said Houck, 27. "The water started coming in the doors. " Houck and Tri-Tech owner Lee Captis spent Friday the way many residents did who live and work in flood-prone areas around the region: cleaning mud from the walls and floor. With the water receding and the sun shining - finally - officials and residents were left with assessing the damage from the record-setting rains that swamped the region this week.
April 8, 2014 |
The neighborhood grid of overgrown avenues still appears on Google Maps. But most of the houses were bought and demolished decades ago by the chemical giant Rohm & Haas, whose Bristol Township plant sat nearby. Only four houses remain on this secluded speck of land known as Maple Beach, along the Delaware River and the shadow of the Burlington-Bristol Bridge. All occupied, they are now imperiled, too. Dow Chemical, which bought Rohm & Haas in 2008, has stopped maintaining to federal standards an 80-year-old levee it owns on the river as it has scaled back operations.
March 17, 2014 |
Drew Ferrara and Connie Kaminski expected flood-insurance premiums to rise in parts of Yardley, a Bucks County river town swamped by three major floods between September 2004 and June 2006. But not by 800 percent. When the insurance bill arrived in December for their two-story real estate office near the Delaware River, they saw premiums jump from about $3,000 a year to nearly $27,000. "The absurdity of it was shocking," Ferrara said. "Who can afford to pay this type of insurance?"