VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) closely is watching how Tropical Storm Elsa will impact the region.
In 2017, the organization identified coastal storms as one of the greatest risks to Hampton Roads as part of its hazard mitigation plan. Other primary threats included flooding, tropical storms, sea-level rise, and tornadoes.
“The purpose of the plan is to, obviously, is to save lives and properties. We want to document and have a thorough understanding of the risks facing Hampton Roads and how we can mitigate those threats and risks," said HRPDC Regional Emergency Management Administrator John Sandler.
Sandler said the plan is updated every five years. New information is added based on the timing of a natural disaster.
HRPDC wants the public's input on other hazards that could impact communities for the commission's 2022 Hampton Roads Hazard Mitigation Plan.
“Nobody wants to be surprised or not know what to do when the storm is coming, so identifying those strategies to mitigate the risk for an event such as Tropical Storm Elsa is going to be an intricate part of that hazard mitigation plan," said Sandler.
Sandler said once the new plan is complete, it will allow the commission to apply for federal grants. It also provides city leaders inclusion in the Community Rating System.
“It’s a voluntary program that FEMA puts on that localities can kind of go one step further than the minimum requirements to reduce their flood vulnerability and that lowers the flood insurance rates in localities," said Sandler.
The second public meeting for the Hampton Roads Hazard Mitigation Plan will be done as a virtual forum. It's scheduled for July 29, and anyone can register by clicking here.
Sandler said the 2022 Hampton Roads Hazard Mitigation Plan has to be approved by all cities involved, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and FEMA before it can be finalized.