Virginia Beach Declares State of Emergency Due to Expected Flooding From Ian’s Remnants

Virginia Beach Declares State of Emergency Due to Expected Flooding From Ian’s Remnants
A tree down in the Thoroughgood neighborhood of Virginia Beach, Va., on Sept. 30, 2022. (Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

Virginia Beach was placed under a state of emergency Sunday night ahead of what’s expected to be widespread coastal flooding due in part to the remnants of the post-tropical storm Ian.

A “significant multi-day coastal flood event” is expected to generate from a low-pressure system offshore merging with the remnants of Hurricane Ian to create a Nor’easter, the city said in a news release.

One of the highest tides in the past decade is possible for the southern Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Coast, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia.

“Severe flooding will extend inland from the waterfront and shoreline flooding homes, businesses and isolating some neighborhoods. Numerous roads will be impassable under several feet of water and cars submerged. Some areas may need to be evacuated,” according to the weather service.

The threat extends over a large area, with coastal flood warnings or advisories covering over 20 million people from Long Island to the North Carolina Outer Banks. Some locations around Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach could see extensive flooding and their highest water levels in five to 10 years, according to the weather service.

A dozen gauges are expected to reach a major flood stage at high tide Monday afternoon over coastal Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Water is expected to be 2–3 feet above ground level in some areas.

Wind advisories and heavy surf advisories are also in effect over much of region with wind gusts up to 50 mph, along with 8- to 12-foot waves battering the coast.

Virginia Beach Emergency Management Coordinator Danielle Progen warned in the release of the seriousness of the expected flooding.

“Forecasters expect inundation of up to three feet above ground which would make for some of the worst flooding conditions the area has seen in at least a decade,” she said.

“With the ground saturation from Ian’s rainfall, plus high tides, combined with wind-driven high water in the Chesapeake Bay and Lynnhaven River systems, it looks like there won’t be anywhere for the water to drain,” Progen said. “We’re encouraging everyone to stay off the roads as much as possible Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.”

Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney declared the state of emergency, and the city will close all city facilities and offices at noon Monday, the news release said. Public schools are also closed Monday.

The peak flooding threat is expected with high tide this afternoon, but with the coastal low expected to linger, the threat for flooding will continue through Tuesday.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.