He was washed away in a sewer pipe. ‘I just let the water take me.’

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“Our infrastructure is inadequate to handle weather conditions at this rate,” she added.

New Jersey should start requiring builders to consider climate change, including rising sea levels and emission levels, in order to get government approval for projects. New rules expected by January would allow the state to reject or modify construction plans based on anticipated climate changes.

New Jersey has also started encouraging residents, planners and political leaders to use its how-to guide. tool kit to increase the resilience of communities to flooding. Suggested strategies include amending municipal codes to require that structures be built above the street. base flood rise and make better use of the natural environment to manage stormwater.

In 2015, a report by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, which analyzed 54 cities in the Raritan River Basin, offered specific recommendations on how South Plainfield could better manage stormwater runoff, including the addition of porous coverings and bioretention systems like rain gardens. (Neither the borough mayor nor the council president returned calls or emails seeking comment.)

Last year, New Jersey released its first scientific report on climate change, finding that average temperatures in the state had risen 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, surpassing other areas of the northeast. Over the past 10 years, average rainfall levels in New Jersey have increased by 7.9 percent, the report find.

Even in this sobering context, the scale of this month’s devastation was alarming.

“Ida was a benchmark storm for us in the same way Sandy was a benchmark coastal storm,” said David Rosenblatt, the state’s flood and climate resilience manager, adding, “We’re not prepared. to the biggest storms when they occur.

After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which was linked to 40 deaths in New Jersey, the state began buying back coastal and flood-prone properties from owners as part of the Acres Bleus program, making the land forever inaccessible to developers.

In July, the state offered 1,115 families in 20 cities the option to sell; 830 owners had accepted buyouts, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection, and 705 homes had already been razed.


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