Flooding in low-lying Norfolk, Virginia, now a chronic problem
As sea levels rise, water is spilling onto many roads during high tide.
(Photo credit: Virginia Sea Grant / Flickr)
Norfolk, Virginia, is home to the largest naval base in the world. The city is also on the front lines of sea-level rise. During high tides, water covers many roads.
“The arteries that go in and out of the naval base … those roads are now becoming flooded on a more regular basis. It’s becoming a chronic problem,” says Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan.
She says the frequent flooding does not just impede traffic to the naval base. It disrupts residents’ lives.
“The road that I travel to get to and from city hall is flooded several times a month now,” McClellan says. “I have to take a different route. It’ll be sunny outside, and truly the road’s impassable.”
On top of sea-level rise, storms are pouring more rain on the region. Many residents worry about flooding in their homes.
“When you add the two together, it’s really, truly the perfect storm,” McClellan says. “It is the biggest issue facing our city and our region.”
But McClellan says that adapting to more water will require massive and expensive infrastructure updates.
“And as a city we simply just don’t have the funding to tackle anything of that scale,” she says. “So we’re looking for the private sector…. We’re looking for government. We’re looking for NGOs. We’re looking under every rock to find funding to help us with the solutions.”