Why Do The Wildwoods Flood?

Yesterday South Jersey was hit by some heavy rains which lead to some heavy flooding on the island. From Wildwood Crest to North Wildwood the whole island had some kind of flooding.

Why Do The Wildwoods Flood?

Credit: Carlo DeVito

At 9:45AM the Emergency Management Coordinator (system) sent out a message via phone letting people know that “Many areas of town are experiencing street flooding due to have rain. Please take precautions to protect your vehicle and property.”

This message seems to be sent out more frequency this year, the fifth time this month to be exact. This begs the question, why do the Wildwoods flood.

The easiest answer to give is that warming oceans and melting glaciers and ice sheets raised global sea levels but it’s a little bit more than that.

The first thing you need to remember is that the Wildwoods, like many other shore towns are barrier islands. These Islands were never really supposed to have humans living on them. Their main purpose was to protect the mainland by creating a barrier between the ocean and the land.

These barrier islands would, in a sense, take the bruit force of a storm so that the mainland would not be affected as much.

The next thing you need to understand is tides. Our ocean is constantly moving up and down. Tides are produced by the attraction of the moon and sun, and occurring about every 12 hours. 

For the most part our island has created systems to hold back tide waters such as bulk heads, pump stations and dunes but if the conditions are right these precautions could fail.

Let’s look at yesterday’s flood to understand how they could fail. According to tide-forecast.com, Wildwood Crest had a high tide around 8:20am at a height of 4.7 feet.

While this is a normal height for this time of year there was an extra weather event that caused the waters to be much higher than normal. (Aka that rainstorm).

Because the bay was already at it’s normal high tide height when the storm hit, the water that was collecting in the street’s drainpipes didn’t have anywhere to do. This causes a backup of water which begins to grow on the street.

This is where you may have saw some of the streets have a 8 inches of water on them.

There are three new pump houses being or will be built on the island to help fight this. In North Wildwood one will be built near Old New Jersey Ave, and in Wildwood we are getting one as part of the Rio Grande Gateway Project and another off Davis Ave and the Boardwalk.

If you want to read about those projects click the links below.

New Pump-Station Coming To North Wildwood

Construction By the Wildwood Boardwalk Explained

Rio Grande Gateway Project Tour (Completed)