This article was produced in partnership with Columbia Journalism Investigations, the Center for Public Integrity, and Type Investigations. It was co-published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
When flooding from Hurricane Floyd in 1999 destroyed Betty Ricks’ home, she rebuilt. Several years later, she posed proudly for a Christmas photograph beside her daughter and granddaughter in her new living room.
Then another flood — brought by Tropical Storm Ernesto in 2006 — claimed her house a second time, leaving soggy furniture and appliances jumbled sideways.
“Everything gone again,” Ricks said. The only thing she salvaged was the photograph, now water-streaked.
After that storm, she rebuilt her home from scratch once more. Yet more flooding followed.
Now, she and some of her neighbors on Great Spring Road, who live less than 30 miles inland from where the Chesapeake Bay opens into the Atlantic Ocean, see no way out of this dangerous loop but to move. With an increasing number of communities at high risk from worse and more frequent disasters fueled by the changing climate, experts w... Read more