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Open Access Modeling the Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Storm Surge Inundation in Flood-Prone Urban Areas of Hampton Roads, Virginia


Hampton Roads is a populated area in the United States Mid-Atlantic region that is highly affected by sea level rise (SLR). The transportation infrastructure in the region is increasingly disrupted by storm surge and even minor flooding events. The purpose of this study is to improve our understanding of SLR impacts on storm surge flooding in the region. We develop a hydrodynamic model to study the vulnerability of several critical flood-prone neighborhoods to storm surge flooding under several SLR projections. The hydrodynamic model is validated for tide prediction, and its performance in storm surge simulation is validated with the water level data from Hurricane Irene (2011). The developed model is then applied to three urban flooding hotspots located in Norfolk, Chesapeake, and the Isle of Wight. The extent, intensity, and duration of storm surge inundation under different SLR scenarios are estimated. Furthermore, the difference between the extent of flooding as predicted by the hydrodynamic model and the “bathtub” approach is highlighted.

Keywords: flooding of transportation infrastructure; hydrodynamic modeling; sea level rise; storm surge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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