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3 things that cause major tidal surge concerns in Hampton Roads

ODU's coastal adaptation and resilience director said learning to live with water is "the price of coastal living."

NORFOLK, Va. — The storm most definitely was not one for the record books, but it could have been.

Of course, Hampton Roads has been through many hurricanes in the past and many nor'easters. So, what was it about Monday's projected tidal surge that made it so concerning?

When you're surrounded by water, it doesn't take much to create a major problem.

In this case, there were the remnants of Hurricane Ian, followed days later by a cold front with powerful northerly winds.

Then, there's also the sea level rise. 

Since they've been measuring the Sewell's Point Tide gauge dating back to 1927, the sea level is a foot and a half higher now than it was back then.

"So there's a few ingredients that just happened to line up at the right time," said Executive Director of the Institute for Coastal Adaptation & Resilience at Old Dominion University Dr. Jess Whitehead. "It is the price of coastal living."

Dr. Whitehead said as bad as tidal flooding seemed it could potentially have been on Monday, it could've been worse if it happened from October 27 to 29, during the expected "King Tide."

"Any one of these ingredients on its own, not a big deal for Hampton Roads," she said. "But, when you start piling all of them up together is when you get a bigger event. So, we are really lucky this is the first of October and not the last week."

To keep up with 13News Now's latest weather forecast, click here.


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