Sept. 21, 2023 - The storm aiming for Hampton Roads doesn’t have a name, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate its impacts. The National Weather Service predicts Hampton will get heavy winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surge, starting Friday afternoon and going through Saturday.
Hampton is expected to see 12-18 hours of continuous flooding — even through one low tide cycle. The surge and the winds (sustained around 35 mph, with higher gusts) pushing in from the northeast means that waters won’t recede quickly.
When you think of storm surge, you think of areas on the immediate coast — Fort Monroe and Buckroe, for example. — and they are likely to experience the effects. But surges also push into rivers and creeks, including Back River and Newmarket Creek.
People whose street or yards flood during storms should prepare now and plan to park their cars on high ground, such as the city parking garage on Settlers Landing at History Museum Way, and consider staying with friends or family Friday night. There is also a risk of flash flooding in non-tidal areas due to the predicted four inches of rain.
Residents are reminded not to have any bulk trash or mobile towers on the street (past Friday’s regular collections). In floods, bulk trash can float and clog storm drains. Residents are also urged to secure items in their yards that could blow and/or could damage other objects in high winds.
Public Works and Parks are out doing extra cleaning of ditches and storm drains and trimming trees. Emergency Management is coordinating additional efforts, such as having a shelter ready should that need arise.
Tides overnight Friday/early Saturday morning, around 3:45 a.m. and again Saturday afternoon, are expected to be in the moderate flooding range, hitting about 6 to 6.5 feet above mean low lower water. The weather service is now calling the storm “Potential Tropical Storm 16,” and there is a possibility it will strengthen. If so, it will be named Ophelia.
The forecast may change as the storm develops. Stay tuned to Hampton’s news (sign up at Hampton.gov/notifyme), and watch the city’s Facebook, Twitter/X accounts, as well as NextDoor. People can also call 311 to report problems.