We have some high waters “about 2 feet above the full moon’s tide” coming our way this Monday and Tuesday, according to the executive director of Wetlands Watch.
It could be even worse, depending on the rainfall.
“When we get wind and rain, like this week, we get real problems,” said Skip Stiles. “The coastal areas flood and the low-lying areas cannot drain as a result. When you add a full/new moon tide (which we do not have now, thankfully) you get even higher water.”
The water should be the highest around 9 to 11pm tonight, 9 to 11am tomorrow, and again 9 to 11pm on Tuesday evening. Then, according to Stiles, the wind will shift and rivers will start flowing normally again.
“Basically whenever we get sustained winds from the N/NE/ENE we get water ‘stacking’ up in the north facing rivers in the region – Lynnhaven, Elizabeth, Nansemond, Back River in Hampton,” said Stiles. “The rivers are flat without much flow and so the wind drives the water up and does not let the tidal flow empty them. This backs water up into low lying coastal areas.”
Stiles encourages residents in flood-prone areas to check their sump pumps.
In weather conditions like this “the stormwater pipes get covered by the higher water so the rainfall does not drain,” Stiles said, but the water always has to go somewhere.
For his raw data Stiles uses the NOAA tide web, which can be found here.
Stiles does not believe that the flooding today and tomorrow will be anywhere near the worst we’ve seen. “(I) don’t think Hampton Blvd. to Navy Base will be closed off for example,” he wrote.
The flooding issues in Norfolk have recently garnered some especially high profile references. In the opening minutes of his new show, “Bill Nye Saves the World,” the host mentions Norfolk.
“Places… like Norfolk, Virginia, are going to have this much water on the floor all the time,” Nye said. “So people are going to leave. Where are they going to go? What are they going to do?”
And last week the New York Times ran a story that focused on the way that sea level rise will impact the Norfolk real estate market. The headline was “When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty.” From that article:
More losses loom. A single major storm-and-flooding event could cause $10 billion in damage in Hampton Roads alone, according to one planning report. AIR Worldwide, which models the risks of catastrophic events for insurance companies and governments, found that $1.1 trillion in property assets along the Eastern Seaboard lie within the path of a hundred-year storm surge.
“That’s a very staggering number,” says AIR’s chief research officer, Jayanta Guin — and it represents only the risk on that coast, and only under current sea levels. By the 2030s, according to a 2008 analysis by Risk Management Solutions (R.M.S.) and Lloyd’s of London, annual losses from storm surges in coastal areas around the world could double.
Be safe out there! And if you’re wondering if your car can make it through that flooding in front of you…. think twice, and then think again.