Tuesday’s nor’easter took its usual toll on South Jersey, creating problems of coastal flooding, high tide surges and beach erosion across South Jersey.
It didn’t surprise me that by midday, after Press meteorologist Dan Skeldon said we may have seen the worst of the storm, I had a flood of my own — Public Eye tips in my email inbox about homeowners taking on water.
But I wasn’t expecting to hear from Somers Point.
The problem: Michelle Douris has lived at 10th Street and Laurel Drive for about 20 years.
The house is a nice location, walking distance from the Jordan Road School and a short drive to get to Ocean City.
However, every time it rains, Douris’ driveway looks more like a boat slip.
According to Douris’ tip, storm water flows from New Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, and pools at 10th Street.
The storm drains become flooded and ineffective, to say the least. Douris said the water runs about 1½ feet to about 2 feet high.
While checking out the area Tuesday evening, the phrase “turn around, don’t drown” rang in my ears, so I can’t imagine how the residents of 10th Street manage to leave or get home on a day with stormy weather.
The facts: “You can’t help the topography of the world,” said City Administrator Wes Swain.
Swain was aware of the flood issues at 10th Street, saying it has been a 15-year project for the city.
Tenth Street and Laurel Drive does sit at the bottom of a slope, and as Douris’ mentioned in her letter, storm water has to go somewhere.
“15 years ago, there was a project to change the elevation,” Swain said.
“Ninety percent of the problems were fixed with the changed slope and adding dirt to the east side, but we’re still working.”
The next step: In January, the state Department of Environment Protection called for municipalities to clear storm drains in preparation for winter storms.
For those in neighbors still soaked from Tuesday, it might be worth a call to local Public Works and request municipal storm drains be cleared.
Swain said Somers Point has cleared storm drains in the past and found significant clogs.
Also in the works, a grant application has been submitted by the city to address the flooding issue.
“You can’t create a mountain where there’s a valley, but we still have plans and are still working,” Swain said.
The status of the grant is still in the hands of the state, but there is continued effort by Somers Point to help its waterlogged residents on 10th Street.