People like borough councilman
Then there are people who move to the peninsula, slight as it is, having never laid their heads in a home within a flood plain. People like
"When it first happened, it was surreal. I didn't understand what was happening until after," Wolfe said.
What happened was remnants of Tropical Storm Lee raged five years ago in the
Wolfe wasn't sure what to expect as the storm crept up the
They returned to a home where 15 inches of water pooled in the first floor, leaving a coating of river silt when it receded back to the
"The whole thing had to be gutted," she said of their home. "When we moved back in, it was the best feeling ever. We don't want to live anywhere else."
Charles knew what to expect as Lee arrived in the Valley. He built his home purposefully to withstand flooding, keeping his living space and utilities above street level. Everything he kept stored on the first floor was moved upstairs. He was ready, boat and all. Experience helps. He talked of flooding in 2004, 1996, 1972, of course, and other years. Lee wasn't the worst, he said, but it wasn't exactly easy going, either.
"Every now and then Mother Nature collects rent, and it costs more than the mortgage," Charles said.
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Wolfe's husband is handy. He finished most all of the repairs himself, she said, and only needed help when it came time to raise the home above the base flood elevation. They stayed within the
Badman estimated the cost to elevate a home anywhere at
The borough is currently taking applications for income-restricted grant funding to flood-proof homes in the 100-year floodplain, which extends east beyond
Flood insurance rates are rising as federal legislation chews away at the subsidized National Flood Insurance Program, as much as 18 percent annually for individual policy holders or 25 percent for commercial structures until premiums reach full risk, according to a
Mitigation projects make for more safer living, sure, but also affordable flood insurance rates.
"That's what all this is for," Badman said.
In spring 2011, months before Lee would arrive, an emergency access ramp was completed on the Isle downstream from peninsula's lone bridge. In the face of a flood, the ramp is opened. It's at higher ground and buys more time for residents to move possessions off the Isle. Timing of the ramp's availability was fortuitous.
"The creek can flood and we can still drive back and forth," Charles said.
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