Homebuyer shocked his instincts were “absolutely wrong” on sea level rise

Hilary Stevens, a Senior Staff Scientist with Coastal Risk Consulting, stands on the site of the closed Charley’s Crab restaurant off of A1A on Palm Beach on June 20, 2018. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

From the frothy assault of the Atlantic Ocean to the placid trespass of the Lake Worth Lagoon, sea level rise is a mounting concern for South Florida property buyers who are turning to science, and private companies, for guidance.

The 3-year-old start-up Coastal Risk Consultants was co-founded by the former director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies, and has amassed an advisory board of respected atmosphere experts from the University of Miami, Pennsylvania State University and Florida International University.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Will your Palm Beach County home be in a risk area by 2045?

Jupiter, a Silicon Valley firm launched this year by entrepreneur Rich Sorkin to analyze the affects of climate change on individual properties, includes a Nobel Prize winner, a former leader at the National Science Foundation, and Todd Stern, the chief negotiator for the U.S. on the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

The companies see a market in sea level rise consultation, but also other climate change-related challenges that traditional property inspectors and building codes don’t consider — hurricane storm surge, flooding rains and extreme temperature changes.

When seas could rise 10 inches by 2030 and up to 26 inches by 2060 above 1992 levels, the basis of inquiries is often whether buying a beach house will be an asset or liability to future generations.

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“I just think as a practical matter, this is something people should do,” said homebuyer Kevin Kennedy, who ordered four reports from Coastal Risk Consulting on Palm Beach County properties along the Intracoastal and on the ocean. “The results discouraged me from purchasing two of them.”

Kennedy said he was surprised to learn the Intracoastal homes were more vulnerable to sea level rise than a condominium he liked on the ocean.

“My instinct was absolutely wrong,” he said. “I started looking … LEARN MORE ABOUT HARDENING YOUR HOME AGAINST SEA LEVEL RISE IN THE FULL STORY ON MYPALMBEACHPOST.COM.

Misha Catalano, vacuums up water from the floor of Katie Gail’s place on Marine Way after King Tides washed water inside, in Delray Beach, October 5, 2017. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

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