Michael Hancock and Olivia Lomax walk along Sollers Point Road in Turner Station which often floods. Photo by John Lee/WYPR.

Editor’s Note: This is WYPR’s first story in ongoing coverage of the environment in Maryland known as Climate Change In Your Backyard.

As Olivia Lomax rode around the streets of Turner Station, a historically Black neighborhood which sits on a peninsula near Dundalk in Baltimore County, she remembered when floodwaters threatened her daughter’s home nearby.

Lomax offered a tour of the community nearby an old Bethlehem steel site that was once an economic hub. Some homes there have a view of Bear Creek that flows into the Patapsco River and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.

Driving around the neighborhood sparked a flashback to when streets looked more like rivers. During one storm, she saw floodwaters encompass more land in lower lying areas.

“But if you look down you can see, it was like a river running through all of that,” Lomax said, gesturing towards a sloped road.

There are fewer than 3,000 residents left in the neighborhood. Roughly 66% of the population is Black, according to estimates from the Dundalk U.S. Census data when Turner Station boundaries are carved out. Residents there say streets and sometimes homes have flooded for decades.

But as climate change has contributed to sea level rise flooding has gotten worse because the water table is higher. It’s more expensive to get flood insurance for homes, residents have raised critical residential infrastructure to stay dry. The local, state and federal government understands how bad it is but nobody knows how much it would cost to fix.

Turner Station has always been prone to flooding, but Lomax said it’s gotten worse.

After the drive, Lomax and other neighbors gathered at the home of 97-year-old Zenobia Batchelor.

They call Ms. Batchelor the matriarch of Turner Station. She’s lived there for 70 years.

“When the downpours come it just saturates everything, just go from front to back,” Batchelor said.

Elma Jones said the flooding happens more frequently and the waters are rising higher.

“The flood comes up to the porch, almost to the top of the porch,” Jones said. “And my basement floods out. My son lives up the street. He’s lost two sets of washers and dryers with these last two floods.”

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.