Baltimore’s Harbor is Inundating Fells Point Right Now

By Van Smith

Baltimore, Apr. 30, 2020

Almost a year ago I wrote a short piece for Hmm Daily about my long history of chronicling sea-level rise in Baltimore’s waterfront Fells Point neighborhood, where waterfront prosperity has all but drowned out the district’s distinct character. Just a couple of weeks ago, I posted here about a recent tidal anomaly there, with harbor water seeping up through the storm drains to fill the streets. Over the years, my ongoing interest in this inundation theme has prompted several documentary projects, including the continuing disappearance of James Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, first in 2007 and again in 2013.

Today, this afternoon, Fells Point is underwater again. The anomaly is not only due to a higher-than-normal tide, but also to gravity-driven rain runoff and a driving wind pushing water inland. Here are two photos conveying the situation – I tried to take many more, including of the underwater marina slips and some good perspectives from right at the water’s surface, but I misfired my iPhone camera somehow in the heavy rain.

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At the eastern terminus of Thames Street, the inundation this afternoon is pretty much total, with a good few feet of harbor water covering the street.
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At Wolfe and Lancaster streets, the storm drains are doing the opposite of conveying runoff into the harbor, and instead are providing harbor water with a way to fill the streets.

Addendum: I found the lost photos, and here are a few more of them.

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