Phys.org has a article today “Long-forgotten seawall protected New Jersey homes from Hurricane Sandy’s powerful storm surges” which discusses how two residential communities on the Jersey shore withstood attack by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
“A forgotten, 1,260-meter seawall buried beneath the beach helped Bay Head weather Sandy’s record storm surges and large waves over multiple high tides …”
“Despite the immense magnitude and duration of the storm, a relatively small coastal obstacle reduced potential wave loads by a factor of two and was the difference between widespread destruction and minor structural impacts, the researchers said.”
People are not intended to build and live on the Jersey Shore without risk. They do not have a “right” to build homes there and expect, without reservation, they will withstand the ravages of nature. They do not have the right to build on the Jersey Shore to have their property destroyed and then expect government (other people) to bale them out.
But with investment in storm and flood protection, including not building in areas not sufficiently protected against storms and floods, risk can be reduced. The above demonstrates that.
Nothing is for free.
Update 17 July 2013: Anthony Watts asks:
” … makes you wonder about past storm intensity and the need to protect shorelines from storms coming from the sea. With all the hype surrounding “Superstorm Sandy”, it is interesting to see that 150 years ago, simple engineering made the storm less intense in this one area.”
I wish I had thought of that angle.