Fortress Charleston: Will Walling Off the City Hold Back the Waters?

May 5, 2020

For millions of visitors each year, Charleston, South Carolina is a reminder of a bygone era, showcasing antebellum mansions, arty row houses, historic African-American churches, and sprawling views of the harbor from a Civil War-era promenade.

What those visitors don’t see is that Charleston is drowning in slow motion and soon will face an existential threat to its survival from rising seas and bigger, more powerful storms — this, even as development continues nearly unchecked.

The city is limned by its harbor and three rivers. It leaks at every bend and curve, filling streets, pooling on critical evacuation routes, disrupting business, and rushing into homes in storms. Those million-dollar antebellum mansions tucked behind the Low Battery have flooded three times since 2015, resulting in millions in damage. Homes in nearby neighborhoods, such as James Island, store sandbags under their car ports. Built atop spongy marsh and old tidal creeks filled with sawdust, they flood repeatedly, including last month when a storm pushed nearly a foot of water into some homes. Read the entire article here.