This year’s floods may not be bad, but they will get worse, report says – The Virginian-Pilot
The good news is that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) predicts the East Coast may not experience record high tide flooding this year.
The bad news is that the floods will get worse over the decades.
Hampton Roads could see 10 to 15 days of high tide flooding for the year, according to NOAA’s 2022 Flood Outlook Report, which was released this week. This is similar to last year when the area saw around 13 days.
The number could drop from 85 to 125 days by 2050.
NOAA used data from 97 measuring tools to track tides and flooding along the east coast from 1960 to 2022. It used gauges at Sewells Point in Norfolk and Kiptopeke Beach and Wachapreague on the east coast.
The report says that by 2050 sea levels could be 2ft higher in Norfolk than they were in 2000.
Coastal flooding will also become much more common.
Flooding is determined by several factors, including sea level rise, land subsidence and the destruction of natural barriers, such as wetlands. Modern infrastructure usually includes flat roads and sidewalks, which can make flooding worse because it doesn’t stop the water. Flood valves, canals and drainage systems help, but there are not enough of them, especially in underserved areas.
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According to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 1 inch of flooding in a home can cause over $25,000 in damage.
There are also indicators to predict flood severity during hurricane season. Scientists are monitoring the duration of La Niña weather to determine the number and severity of potential hurricanes on the East Coast.
La Niña occurs when warm water is pushed southeast from Asia and cold water left off the coast of the Americas causes hotter, drier weather in the south and wetter weather in the North.
This year, NOAA predicts that La Niña will continue through the summer and potentially into the winter. However, “drier” is not the same as “dry”. La Niña conditions only lessen the impact of hurricanes and floods because they cause less rainfall.
The moon is the greatest influence of ocean tides. The “wobble” of the moon, according to NOAA oceanographer Willian Sweet, helps suppress the effects of high tides. The moon suppresses the tides for half of an 18-year cycle and amplifies them for the other half.
“They helped take the gas off the gas,” Sweet said at a press conference this week.
Everett Eaton, 262-902-7896, [email protected]