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Virginia’s Coastal Regions are Facing Rising Sea Levels


Hampton Roads and the surrounding Peninsula areas are experiencing rising sea levels with an increase in storm surges.

Much of Virginia’s coastal regions are in danger of erosion from rising sea levels that are a threat to Military Bases.

Norfolk is at the center of this debate of climate change in a city that has suffered an increasing amount of tidal flooding and storm surges. Rising sea levels are no longer just a city problem, but a global one. Coastal regions around the world will encounter sea level risings and flooding that will have a long-lasting effect on how we exist.

Neighborhoods in Norfolk are under constant threat of rising waters from rain and flooding with drainage retention issues.

Norfolk is home to one of the largest Naval bases that have voiced concerns over the rising sea levels and the dangers it would pose to the fleet of ships and docks. The Army Corps of Engineering have submitted reports to the Department of Defense concerning coastal flooding and needed repairs to docks at Norfolk Naval Base.

The warming of the ocean contributes to the rising sea levels that will affect Virginia’s coastline with a thirty percent increase in flooding according to the Coastal Flood Projections Report.

East Coast communities can expect waters to climb as much as 11.5 feet – about 3.5 feet more than the global average– by 2100 (Reese 2017).

Virginia’s coastlines also have battles with Hurricanes, Nor’easters that contribute to flooding and erosion that have increased the rise in sea levels.

The Union of Concerned Scientist report have identified at least eighteen military installations along the east coast that is in immediate danger of severe land mass loss due to rising sea levels and flooding. Military ports are vital parts of our national security while preparedness will take a serious effort with Congress and with the Department of Defense.

In 2011, Hurricane Irene brought high tides, winds, and storm surges that were over 7.5 feet in the Sewell’s Point section of Norfolk. The Naval Bases sent their ships out to sea and the city officials ordered residents to evacuate. Irene’s impact was so forceful that it took month’s to restore power from downed power lines.

Residents of all coastal areas should stay updated on evacuation routes and always have a readiness plan in place as the hurricane season starts on June 1, 2018.

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