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Capt. Toll and RADM Titley: The climate threat to Hampton Roads

120620-N-RY232-371Old Dominion University (ODU) recently hosted a Preparedness and Resilience Exercise for Hampton Roads. The event was led by the National Security Council with support from the FEMA National Exercise Division, and used a scenario exercise tailored to the region and designed to reinforce “work already underway locally on sea level rise, extreme storm surge and recurrent flooding.” The exercise included participation from local, state and federal government, private businesses, academic and community partners.

On a related note, Captain Ray Toll, USN (Ret) and CCS Advisory Board member, Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret), wrote an Op-ed in the Virginian Pilot titled “The threat in Hampton Roads.” The Op-ed includes points brought up during the Dec. 2 exercise at ODU. 

They note the vulnerability of the Hampton Roads region to climate risks:

Rising seas, extreme storm surge and recurrent floods threaten the Hampton Roads region. In fact, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hampton Roads is the area most threatened by rising seas on the East Coast.

It’s not just an environmental issue. It’s an issue that costs money, depletes resources and impacts residents and visitors alike.

Toll and Titley also noted how these local vulnerabilities are risks to national security:

Flooding in the Norfolk area in late May of this year was just one incident confirming projections for recurrent floods in the area.

Roads closed, stranding commuters. Norfolk Naval Station – the world’s largest naval base, and critical for military readiness – was flooded.

When the very infrastructure of our naval bases is threatened, we have no choice but to make a plan of action to curb the threat.

They conclude with a call for action:

We must act swiftly. We must act with persistence, with our sights on a future facing a changing climate.

The strength of our national security depends on it.

The full OpEd is available here and more information on the Preparedness and Resiliency is available via ODU’s Center for Sea Level Rise.

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