Lynda Mettee lives in a house built high up on risers on a slender peninsula called Swan Point that sticks out into the Chesapeake Bay east of Dundalk, in Baltimore County.
She does not need scientists to tell her that floods are becoming more common. A neighbor in a kayak told her as he paddled right down the middle of her street on April 30. She illustrates this by showing dramatic flood photos on her iPhone.
“These are pictures where the water was so high that it covered the entire road and you couldn’t even see where the edges of the road were,” said Mettee, a 45-year-old physician’s assistant who lives on Cuckold Point Road. “Even in the past five to seven years we’ve noticed the coastal floods have been increasing. Where it used to happen once or twice a year, this year it’s happened three or four times.”
A new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concludes that flooding – driven by climate change and rising sea levels and higher tides – is accelerating at 75 percent of locations on the East and Gulf coasts. Last year, 19 areas broke or tied previous records for flooding, including six in Maryland and Virginia, according to NOAA oceanographer William Sweet.