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Environment

Nuisance Flooding Closes, Delays Workday at Schools, Naval Base in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach

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Howard Lake / Creative Commons
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Around the Chesapeake Bay, a stalled weather system and remnants of Tropical Storm Julia dumped between eight and 13 inches of rain over the past few days. Flooding closed and delayed schools in the eastern part of the state.

For communities around the Chesapeake Bay it was like a winter storm had blown through. But on the last day of summer, it was flooded roads not snow. Two years ago scientists, warned that more frequent storms could overwhelm storm water systems, compromise infrastructure, and close roadways. William Sweet, an oceanographer at NOAA co-authored the report.

“The primary driver is increases of relative sea levels; land is sinking through pumping of groundwater and natural reasons as well. The Chesapeake Bay area definitely has a lot of natural area of subsidence, as well as the ocean itself expanding and getting more ice melt.”

Last year the Hampton Roads region had a 50 percent increase in so-called nuisance flooding related to warmer waters caused by El Nino. This year, the tides are not done yet.

“They're highest in September, October and actually lowest in February and it changes upwards of a half a foot to a foot in some areas. We just got off a period of higher spring tides over the last week and we'll experience this again in the next month.”

NOAA plans to release a report sometime next year with tools and guidance to help localities deal with flooding. 

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