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The original item was published from 9/18/2023 1:36:43 PM to 9/18/2023 2:00:02 PM.

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Emergency Management

Posted on: September 18, 2023

[ARCHIVED] 20 years after Hurricane Isabel: What is your flooding plan?


Sept. 18, 2023 - Hurricane Isabel hit Hampton on Sept. 18, 2003, after coming ashore as a Category 2 hurricane near Ocracoke Inlet along North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Hurricane Isabel equaled, and in some places exceeded, the storm of record from 1933 in terms of tidal flooding from surge and wave action.  The Buckroe Fishing Pier was washed away in the early afternoon on September 18, 2003. The Public Works Department, Engineering Office surveyed storm surge levels following the storm.  Storm surge measurements ranged from 4 – 9 feet of water depending on location with average flooding of 8.5 feet. (Source: Hampton’s Hurricane Isabel After Action Report)

Storm surge can cause extreme flooding in coastal areas, particularly when it coincides with high tide and can last over multiple tide cycles.  Powerful flood waters can create life-threatening hazards of drowning, electrocution, being washed away, or being harmed by floating debris or chemicals.  It is important to evacuate flood-prone areas early, before the water begins to rise.

City officials activate the Emergency Operations Center when the city is threatened with disasters.  In collaboration with the National Weather Services, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and other partners, city leaders utilize the best available information to make recommendations for protective actions by the public including evacuations.  

UNDERSTAND YOUR RISK: he City of Hampton's low-lying geographic location, with many waterways, make much of the city extremely susceptible to flooding. Go here to better understand your risk.

MAKE A PLAN: It is important to make a plan to respond to flooding or other emergencies.  Get additional information about creating a plan specific to your needs.

Do not walk in flooded areas.  There are many potential dangers including downed power lines, gas leaks, debris, broken glass, metals, gasoline or chemicals, sewage, snakes, or dead animals which can be harmful to your health and safety.  

Be mindful that moving water only a few inches deep can knock a person off their feet.

Turn around, don’t drown! 

Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.  

 A foot of water will float many vehicles which can create life-threatening danger for occupants

More detailed information on emergency preparedness.

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