Skip to comments.`End of Plum Island'
Posted on 03/09/2013 8:23:33 AM PST by GQuagmire
`End of Plum Island' Nerves on edge as storm waters rising March 9, 2013 PrintEmail 52 Comments By Erin Smith / Boston Herald View My Profile
By Joe Dwinell / Boston Herald @joedwinell View My Profile By Matt Stout / Boston Herald View My Profile 123 114 googleplus4 reddit3
Battered by two monster storms in a month, desperate Plum Island residents are losing their battle with the wind and the waves and ultimately face watching their homes wash out to sea, a top expert told the Herald.
This is the end of Plum Island, Orrin H. Pilkey, Duke University professor emeritus of earth and ocean sciences, said last night. If nothing is done, the houses will fall into the sea one by one. Its a futile effort. You need to retreat. Its the same thing up and down the East Coast and Gulf Coast.
One Plum Island home toppled into the ocean and another was teetering on the edge of the waves yesterday, according to Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Its not a matter of if, but when, said Judge of the other house falling into the ocean.
About a dozen homes on Plum Island have been damaged some beyond repair, said Judge. A two-alarm fire was reported at a home on the 11-mile-long barrier island shared by Newburyport, Rowley and Ipswich on the North Shore.
Pilkey said only drastic and expensive measures, which are likely impractical, will end the threat to the ocean-front homes on Plum Island. The beach will survive, he added, but the homes wont.
When you have a bunch of storms like this, theres not much you can do about it, said Ron Barrett of the Plum Island Taxpayers Association. Whatever is coming in at that time is going to eat that sand away, and anything else that is there. Theres nothing to block it, theres no sand bar in the way to block it. Its just a reoccurring thing.
Beaches and dunes in Newbury, Plymouth, Salisbury, Sandwich and the rest of Cape Cod were also damaged yesterday by 20-foot waves, widespread erosion and storm surges as the latest winter storm hit the coast, said Bruce Carlisle, director of states Coastal Zone Management.
Each successive storm has had cumulative impacts. This March noreaster has definitely left its mark, Carlisle said. When people go out to the beach whether its tomorrow or Memorial Day its going to look different.
Sea foam was breaching the dunes on the Cape yesterday, according to George Price, superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore, which saw last months blizzard wash away the stairs at Marconi and Nauset Light beaches.
Were trying to keep people back from the edges because naturally theyre curious and want to look down. Unfortunately the bluffs have been undercut by the waves and are not stable, Price said.
Judge said officials in Marshfield made a handful of rescues as flood waters moved in.
In Scituate, town administrator Patricia A. Vinchesi said conditions began to deteriorate by yesterday morning, with flooding hitting spots officials didnt expect. It was so bad in Humarock, she said, two cars were trapped, with one floating in the street, she said.
The flooding, Vinchesi said, is pretty severe.
Uh oh. Cue creepy music, and watch out for hordes of humanoid fish-frogs wading ashore toward Innsmouth. / H.P Lovecraft reference, for the unread. ;)
Sorry..no sympathy at all.If you choose to live on,or near,the ocean you must acknowledge that there are potential drawbacks,even serious ones.I don’t care if we’re talking Hawaii,California,Florida,New Jersey or Massachusetts.You chose to live there...deal with it!
The answer is very simple...Build back away from the shoreline.....
Exactly right....Use common sense when you build....
Or build and live on a boat.
What a pesemistic asshole... But why are they building homes on a barrier island in the first place?
Like I said, I feel somewhat bad for them. If they want to throw their own money at a losing proposition they can knock themselves out trying to postpone the inevitable.
If they ask for any help from the govt forget it. They’re on their own
How can you feel “bad” for ignorant, and/or egotistical people such as these???
It’s all about man thinking he can control nature....
Look at a globe and see how the continents sort of fit into each other if you smoosh them together. At one point, we used to be all one continent. But not anymore.
Over the next millions, billions of years even, our continents will be bumping into each other again, causing all sorts of annoyances for those still living on land masses. You might be able to step off the Aleutians and onto Hawaii - but Hawaii won't be warm anymore. If you own vacation property on Hawaii, you will eventually be screwed - about 2.3 billion years from now. I advise you to sell now.
They seemed to have a good fix for Grand Ise in Louisiana.
I like what Larry, the Cable Guy said....
Look how smart the republicans are....They built a city below sea level and surrounded it with dikes that were built by the lowest bidder and inhabited the city with democrats who can’t swim....(New Orleans)
Sure hope they’ve cleaned up all the level4 containments before running away.
****Sorry..no sympathy at all.If you choose to live on,or near,the ocean you must acknowledge that there are potential drawbacks,even serious ones.****
I would be interested in knowing what kind of property taxes they have been paying over their lifetimes - and why that money was not used to build sea-walls and protective dunes.
Actually, we don’t let just anybody build whatever they want in the ocean along the shore.
Agreed. If you build within five miles of the shoreline you deserve what ever you get.
Mother Nature is not to be messed with. She ALWAYS wins. She has lots of time on her side. We are puny to her.
When I saw the title of the article, I thought of the other Plum Island, the one off Long Island. You definitely don’t want what’s on that Plum Island washing out to sea. Great book by Nelson DeMille.
I want to build my house on the San Andreas Fault. No, not near... I want it on the fault with the living room and kitchen on the North American plate and the bedrooms on the Pacific plate. And I expect the federal government will pay to rebuild my house if anything goes wrong.
That's not really possible here. Plum Island is really more like a glorified sand bar.
I'm really sorry to hear this. Before I escaped from The Peoples Republic of MA, I used to go there to photograph the sunrise.
They need to check out Galveston Texas and the storm of 1900, still the worst natural disaster (6000 to 10,000 lives lost) to hit the US. Amazing what the people were able to do with man and horse power.
Those houses that have collapsed are pretty close to the main road that runs parallel to the beach. Sooner rather than later there will be a breech between the houses and the ocean will run right onto the road and will do a lot more damage that a few houses toppled over....
But everyone who hears these words of mine
and does not put them into practice
is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose,
and the winds blew and beat against that house,
and it fell with a great crash."
I suspect it's been inhabited for a long time. There are a lot of places like that on the coast -- Hull, Nahant, Winthrop. The lower 4/5 of Plum Island is a nature preserve. Maybe before too long the upper fifth will follow.
People used to build cabanas on the beach, because they better understood nature.
If you can't afford to rebuild out of pocket, you probably shouldn't be building on a sandy beach.
Over-wash due to storm and peak lunar cycles has been happening on east coast barrier islands since they were created.
The Outer Banks in NC are full of 4-5 story “beach” house...Rent anywhere from 5 to 8 thousand a week....
They are constantly being moved or re-supported...The “locals ususally live in one story low roofed homes back away from the beaches...
Much of the coast is buildable, as long as you don’t get too near the beach, except in bays or inlets.
But barrier islands are like this by nature. They are mostly sand, and they shift at least a little with every storm or unusually high tide. That means that houses along the outer beach are subject to these problems, and may have to be moved after a storm.
Rocky barriers can help, but then of course you get into trouble with idiot environmentalists. Put in a wall of boulders and you’re liable to crush a few crabs and starfish in the process.
If we could just abolish the EPA and similar organizations, things would go a bit better. But anyone who builds a house on the beach of a barrier island needs to be rich enough to occasionally fix it or move it. It’s a nice lifestyle, but it’s an expensive one. No reason why other people should pay for it.
Sea walls? Protective dunes? I saw a documentary recently about that huge earthquake and tsunami that Japan experienced a year or two ago.During one portion they focused on events in one seaside town which had spent millions on a huge,and complex,tsunami wall which was supposed to protect the area.Well,the sea got through...quite easily,it was said...and absolutely *devastated* that town/area.Mother Nature is powerful.She *will* not be denied.
If it wasn’t for global warming, george W bush, right wing Christians, or a god who couldn’t build a planet that didn’t have shifting plates or something, then the winds of the ocean waves would not be tearing down the shore line that was created billions of years ago and NEVER CHANGED by earth mother Giai until all the former got involved. (sarc off)
Different Plum Island
Ah yea, saw that. Big place, the US :).
Go look at where people lived 100-200 years ago (or more). Chances are many of the places people live now where unpopulated or sparsely populated back then. There’s probably a reason for that. I think it was in the 1920’s when there was a land boom in Floriduh. Until that point it was regarded as a mosquito infested swamp and nobody wanted to go there or live there. (Yes I know Saint Augustine is like the oldest city in the US or whatever). I’m just saying that if our ancestors from long ago could see some of the places we have chosen to live they would be shaking their heads.
24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
Sorry, posted before reading all the responses.
It’s an FR tradition!
I would put money on it that they have gov or state taxpayer subsidized insurance for their dwellings due to private property insurers either a) would not insure property or b) it would be exhorbitantly high due to the risk.
So no pity for these people. They like anyone living on the coast from Corpus Christi to Maine are probably at the government trough via taxpayer subsidized property insurance. And if it weren’t for the taxpayer subsidized insurance they would not be there or would have to pay the true cost of living there, which I would bet most couldn’t afford witout the subsidy.
Thanks for your responses and info. I have to remember to do research before shooting off a question.
Mother Nature does indeed wreak havoc in every place on earth and we are well informed of the dangers: hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, mudslides, sinkholes, etc., The one obvious risk that could be avoided, or mitigated is ocean tides. Build high and away from the water or don’t build at all. Plum Beach is a sand bar!!!!!!