Study: Virginia hit hard by weather disasters

13News Now Mike Gooding has the details.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Weather-related disasters are happening with great frequency, according to a citizen-based advocacy group.

'Environment Virginia' has compiled data from the federal government and concluded that Virginia has been hit very hard in recent years by weather-related events.

Two weeks after tornadoes tore through Tappahannock, and Waverly, 'Environment Virginia' released a new interactive electronic map.

Using data from FEMA and the Department of Agriculture, the group found that 91 percent of Virginians, in 112 of 133 cities and counties, live in jurisdictions that have been impacted by a weather-related disaster between August 2010 and December 2015.

"Our message is clear," said Lilias Gordon. "From massive floods to tropical storms, dangerous weather is hitting us close to home. Without action to stop climate change, these effects will only continue to get worse."

Gordon and Terra Pascarosa Duff of Moms Clean Air Force are calling on lawmakers to move forward with clean energy legislation.

"They can't deny the science any more," said  Pascarosa Duff. "It must be accepted by everyone so we can protect our children and our communities now, not just in the future."

Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced this week that Hampton Roads will receive more than $840,000 from NOAA  to address sea level rise issues and develop a resiliency plan.

The grant is designed to help protect homes, businesses and military bases, to combat negative impacts of rising oceans and coastal flooding.

"This is really important," said Kaine. "Next to New Orleans, Hampton Roads is the most  affected by sea level rise in the eastern United States. It's very dire. And it's not a tomorrow issue. It's a today issue."

In addition to being a risk to life and limb, climate and weather can also hit where it really hurts: in the wallet.

A study by the Hampton Road Planning District Commission estimated that the region could face direct economic costs of $12 billion to $87 billion due to rising seas by the end of the century.


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