Economic Impacts

Rising sea levels will have a significant impact on the economic health of Hampton Roads as a region. With increased and intensified flooding and the potential for loss of both road systems and land to rising sea levels, even a small increase in sea level could be costly.

  • According to a 2012 HRPDC study, up to 877 miles of roads in or near Hampton Roads could be permanently or regularly flooded if sea levels rise 1 to 3 feet, numbers projected in the United Nations Fifth Assessment Report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Norfolk-industrial shipping cranes
  • According to a study by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), costs from three feet of sea-level rise in the Hampton Roads region are expected to range between $12 billion and $87 billion.
  • The Virginia Beach-Norfolk Metropolitan Statistical Area ranks 10th in the world in value of assets exposed to increased flooding from relative level rise, according to an analysis by RMS (a catastrophe modeling company).
  • According to the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Climate Change in 2008, “The continued affordability and availability of insurance for Virginia’s landowners is a concern as our climate changes. These effects are already being felt in Coastal Virginia. The frequency and severity of storms in the future are expected to exceed those of the past, and the insurance industry may not have the ability to handle several concurrent events.”
  • While Hurricane Isabel technically made landfall in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Virginia still suffered $925 million in damages to insured properties.

Through CCRFR, faculty are compiling data and conducting research to determine not only what our economic impacts may be, but also what how implementing various resiliency strategies might alter our impacts.  We believe coastal Virginia can thrive in the face of flooding.  Stay tuned for more information.