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Sea level rise could triple annual flood damages in Hampton Roads by 2060, study finds

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – The sea level rise could triple the annual flood damages and economic impacts in Hampton Roads from coastal storms by 2060, according to a study by the Virginia Coastal Policy Center.

“It is our hope that the findings of this important study will help to educate members of the public and elected officials on the economic risks that sea level rise presents to the future sustainability of the Hampton Roads region,” said Elizabeth Andrews, director of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center.

Researchers from research institute RTI International based the study on two potential sea level rise scenarios based on research and predictions by William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

In the first potential scenario, the water levels rise by 0.5 meters, which is predicted by the year 2040. In the second potential scenario, the water levels rise by 0.75 meters, which is predicted by the year 2060.

According to the RTI researchers, a rise in sea levels will increase the expected cost of coastal flood damages to homes if no protective efforts are made.

The expected cost of coastal flood damages to Hampton Roads homes in any given year will increase from $12 million with no sea level rise to about $50 million with a sea level rise of 0.5 meters and over $100 million annually with a sea level rise of 0.75 meters.