Flooding Redux – Or – “I have never seen water why am I in a flood zone?”

“I have never seen water why am I in a flood zone?”

A question we have heard often over the past year or more. Repeatedly we have told callers that the Cape has not seen a 1% storm in many years, in fact, the closest would be 1954 when the region experienced two hurricanes in short succession.

Often I have mentioned that Hurricane Edna most closely matches a 1% storm in our region. Hurricane Edna produced a 6 foot storm surge over much of Cape Cod. A six foot surge, at high tide, pushes water to, roughly, ground elevation 12.

Looking at the land area southeast of Swan Pond, Hurricane Edna pushed water into much of the area covered by a 1% storm. Pushing water through the cottage colonies and the Plashes to the southern edges of Dennis Port Village Center. At the same time, waters from the Swan River flow through the wetlands between Route 28 and Upper County Road, reaching the westerly edges of the village in the area of the Dennis Port Post Office.

6 foot surge


Edna was not the strongest storm ever experienced on the Cape, nor the highest storm surge. However, it provides the closest match for discussing the impacts of a 1% storm.

Earlier in 1954 Hurricane Carol struck parts of the Cape with a larger surge (New Bedford Harbor recorded a 20 foot storm tide) even as it happened just after high tide. The Hurricane of 1938 is also documented as having larger impacts, if not the largest impacts ever, on Cape Cod.

Anecdotal information tells us that the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 had the largest storm surge impact of any past storm on Dennis – even though, according to the September 1944 Monthly Weather Review, it hit at low tide.

So, if your property is in the red areas on the map above, your property probably experienced some level of flooding in 1954, 1944 and 1938.

Sesuit Harbor Updates

A few updates on Sesuit Harbor.

First, the Planning Board is in the process of reviewing the proposed Sesuit Harbor Zoning District. This will be a slow process intermingled with its other work activities. It will be a continuous item on the Planning Board agenda for the coming meetings, but the amount of time devoted to the zoning proposal will depend upon full workload.

Second, we have received a “final draft” version of the Sesuit Harbor Use and Capacity Study. The documents can be downloaded below:

Sesuit Harbor Use and Capacity Study Draft Final

Appendix A Sesuit Asset Evaluation

Table for Section 6 Asset Evaluation

Tables For Section 9.0 Sesuit Harbor Cost Estimates – Final

Section 9.3 Final Sesuit Eastside 3A

Section 9.3 Final Sesuit Westside Concept Plan 3A

Section 9.3 Final Sesuit Westside Diagram 3A

Section 9.4 Final Eastside 3B

Section 9.4 Final Westside Concept Plan 3B

Section 9.4 Final Westside Diagram 3B

Table for Section 9.6 Dredging Estimates

Tables for Section 10 Town Marina 15 Year Pro-Forma 3A

Tables for Section 10 Town Marina 15 Year Pro-Forma 3B Fees

The Harbor Study Committee is trying to coordinate a date to meet to review this material so that it can be finalized.




Pre-Disaster Thinking

Volunteering is always encouraged. Often, when we volunteer, especially during a disaster, we do not think too much of keeping track of the time we put in or our out of pocket expenses. However, that selfless effort many put in to help their neighbors by working in shelters or providing free meals to those left homeless during a disaster has tremendous value, both for those assisted, but, as New Jersey residents are learning, in accessing federal disaster recovery funds.

The many hours put in by volunteers can have a financial value placed on it, allowing access to federal recovery funds without needing additional local financial resources. Personal out of pocket costs (that case of water donated to the shelter) also can be used to gain access to federal funds. Donated services and material can add up quickly towards the 10% local match required for accessing federal disaster recovery funds.

Poor paperwork costs Sandy towns money

As we continue to best position the Town of Dennis in the event of a future disaster, we will be seeking guidance on the necessary forms the town should use to document the value of volunteer services.

While the article above notes the value of donations towards public disaster recovery, I am also going to inquire as to whether the value of volunteer assistance on private property might be available to assist in match requirements for private disaster aid as well.