In this three-part series, the Sentinel examines the challenges presented by sea rise and increased coastal flooding.
On the Outer Banks, a worrisome future
There is a striking visualization of the planet earth published recently by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center using color-coded satellite images to depict the regional level of rising seas between 1992 and 2015. Orange and red water indicate higher levels — the deeper the color, the higher the level — and blue indicates rates that were lower, or unchanged.
Water along the Pacific Coast is shown as mostly blue. Along the entire East Coast and Gulf of Mexico, local levels are depicted with shades of orange. And right off the Outer Banks, there is a big blotch of red.
OBX’s ongoing battle against sea rise and flooding
When Jeremy Bliven opened his gift shop, Roanoke Heritage Extended, in Manteo 14 years ago, he was well-acquainted with sound tide coming up in storms. For the 42-year-old Manteo native, preparing for occasional high water was a trade-off for doing business in his waterfront community.
Except now, he says, the flooding doesn’t seem so sporadic and the water seems to be getting higher. In the last eight years, his store has been flooded four times. At the same time, erosion on his family’s land on the north end of Roanoke Island has increased markedly.