America's Threatened Coastlines

Archive Report

Living by the Sea

Paying the Price for Getting Too Close

Living by the Sea is an ancient desire—and a modern hazard of growing proportions. Western civilization evolved on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Generations later and a continent away, Americans in increasing numbers are building homes, setting up businesses and vacationing along the nation's coasts. But not without paying a steep price in lives lost and property damaged.

Hurricanes in this century have killed over 13,000 people living in states along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Most died in storms that struck before 1940. Improved weather forecasting since then has provided coastal residents with advance warning. But property damage has become far costlier, as more and more development takes place on the beach. ...

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