Friday, February 22

Record Tides, Storms Hit Scituate, Massachusetts. Residents Wonder How Long They Can Hang On

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We hear a lot about the fears of climate change and rising sea levels in Miami Beach, say, or the barrier islands of North Carolina. But nowhere are those problems more pressing than in Scituate, Massachusetts, a waterfront community of 18,133 people on the South Shore about 30 miles below Boston, where a series of nor’easters this year caused enormous damage.

In three weeks this March, four nor’easters hit the area. Two of the four high tides were strong enough to rank as numbers one and three on Boston’s all-time record tide list. Residents say that after March, Scituate looked like a war zone.

Here’s what Keith O’Callaghan, a local business owner, told about the tides on March 1, 2 and 3:

“The first high tide that was here, we didn’t take any water on.”

“Second high tide, we took a ton of water.”

“The third one came in and we were fighting for dear life after that.”

Peggotty Beach has been one of the hardest hit areas. Only two houses stand there now, on stilts, 15 feet above a steep stretch of sand. There used to be 30 houses on Peggotty Beach. The shoreline on Peggotty Beach has eroded 135 feet since 1970.

Meteorologists say that sea levels will continue to rise in the future, and higher flood tides will happen more often. Each new storm is now superimposed on a higher sea level. Many Scituate residents wonder how long they can hang on.

In June, a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists said that if there are no changes in global carbon emissions, about 90,000 homes will face chronic flooding in Massachusetts alone by the turn of the century. In Scituate, 1,066 homes will be inundated. Read more:



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