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Virginia Beach to resume normal operations after impacts of from Ian’s remnants were less than expected

<i>Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot via AP</i><br/>A tree is seen down in the Thoroughgood neighborhood of Virginia Beach during severe weather on Friday
AP
Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot via AP
A tree is seen down in the Thoroughgood neighborhood of Virginia Beach during severe weather on Friday

By Jennifer Henderson, CNN

After being under a state of emergency for nearly 24 hours, Virginia Beach will resume normal operations Tuesday after the impacts from an incoming system were minimal than expected, according to a news release from the city.

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

A “significant multi-day coastal flood event” was 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 an earlier news release.

Danielle Progen, Virginia Beach emergency management coordinator, said the combination of ground saturation from Ian’s rainfall, high tide along with wind-driven high water in the Chesapeake Bay and Lynnhaven River systems, would create a situation in which rising water levels would nave nowhere to drain.

However, by Monday evening the expected chaos was nowhere to be found. While the Lynnhaven inlet’s tidal gauge hit “Major” flood stage Monday afternoon, “impacts were minimal with forecasted tidal flooding decreasing by at least 1 (foot) from Sunday’s forecasted levels,” city spokesperson Tiffany M. Russell told CNN via email.

The city will now resume regular operation beginning Tuesday at 6 a.m. ET. Public schools were also closed Monday, but announced later in the evening they would resume normal operations on Tuesday.

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

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 were expected to see flooding and their highest water levels in five to 10 years, according to the weather service.

How climate change makes coastal flooding worse

Rapid sea level rise — caused by the climate crisis and sinking land — is increasing the frequency and intensity of coastal flood events like the one Virginia Beach will experience Monday.

Sea level in the Virginia Beach area has climbed 10 inches in the last four decades alone which has made extreme flooding more frequent.

Since 1950, the Sewells Point tide station near Norfolk and Virginia Beach has recorded more than 200 days of flooding. More than half of those days would not have occurred if not for sea level rise, according to a study from Climate Central, a non-profit climate analysis service.

A separate report published earlier this year found sea level in the US will rise as much in the next 30 years as it did in the past 100 — increasing the frequency of high-tide flooding, pushing storm surge to the extreme, and inundating vulnerable coastal infrastructure with saltwater.

The interagency report, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows how scientists are increasingly confident that US coasts will see another 10 to 12 inches of sea level rise by 2050.

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CNN’s Dave Hennen, Monica Garrett, Kristina Sgueglia, Eric Levenson and Angela Fritz contributed to this report.

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