Damaged home
A damaged home on the Jersey Shore from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.* Photo credit: Army National Guard.

Robert and Donna Challender live on a small inlet near Little Egg Harbor, not far from the Jersey Shore. They dreamed of buying a retirement home overlooking the ocean, where they could sit on their porch and watch their grandkids play in the sand.

Challender: “The beach represented a little bit of paradise, maybe.”

But everything changed in 2012, after Superstorm Sandy.

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Challender: “We came back the next day and there was all sorts of debris. We had somebody else’s floating dock in our backyard.”

Challender says he already knew that global warming is making seas rise and increasing the risks of extreme weather. But after Sandy, he started to reckon with it in a new way.

He went to town meetings and saw maps showing how rising seas will likely impact the Jersey shoreline.

Challender: “Studies are predicting that by 2050, the Atlantic Ocean here will be 1.5 feet higher, and it was devastating to see that. So we will not buy a beach house, especially in New Jersey.”

The Challenders are now working on a new retirement plan. They still love the Jersey Shore, but as the seas rise, it no longer looks like paradise.

Editor’s note: The home photographed above is representative of the kinds of damage that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on parts of the New Jersey coast, and is not intended as a photo of the actual home described in the copy. 

Reporting credit: Katelyn Harrop/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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