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'Sunny-day' flooding an increasing threat in Hampton Roads

In the next decade, it may not take any rain at all to see some of those classic flooding issues like water-covered roads.

NORFOLK, Va. — We’re used to flooding in Hampton Roads; even light rain can cause big problems for certain parts of the region.

But soon, it may not take any rain at all to see some of those classic flooding issues like water-covered roads.

According to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, high tide flooding, or "sunny-day" flooding is an increasing threat to the area. It’s when high tide levels reach about two feet above the daily average.

It’s still rare. NOAA estimates that it happens nine to 14 times a year, but its tide gauge at Sewell’s Point in Norfolk registered 14 of those days from May 2020 to April 2021.

Even more alarming, NOAA researchers believe at the current pace, the number of "sunny-day" floods could double by 2030. By 2050, they estimate we’ll see up to 170 in a year.

Tidal floods present problems for cars, infrastructure, and homes because of the corrosive seawater that comes along with it.

Sea levels in our area have already risen 18 inches over the last 100 years, and they’re expected to rise another foot and a half by 2050.