Thread: Eaarth
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:35 PM   #111 (permalink)
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Born in Norfolk. The most memorable storm was 1933 with water levels of 9.3 feet. Recent storm Isabel (7 years ago) was 8.3 feet. The highest water rise since English colonization was in 1749 at 15 feet. This storm according to word of mouth legend created Willoughby Spit where the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel crosses from Hampton to Norfolk. My grandmother (born 1889) used to tell us a storm made the spit and a storm will take it away. The 1933 storm wiped every structure off the spit except a brick Baptist Church.

7 years ago (Isabel) the sea level rise was reported to be 1.3 feet since the 1933 storm.
Isabel was a weak cat 1 storm, but the problem was wind direction which can pile up tide after tide if the storm lingers. Highest wind speed on record at Sewells Point was 124 MPH in 1944 before they started naming Hurricanes. I can only imagine what the 1749 storm was like, but a strong Cat 3 of Cat 4 storm that stalls at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay is the once in many centuries nightmare we all fear around the Tidewater area.

The mouth of Back River which separates Poquoson from Hampton was a peninsula when I graduated from high school in 1968, Now it is small island with many hundreds of yards of that same peninsula gone from a progression of Northeasters about 15 years ago. The repeated tides piled the water up in the bay, and when the wind shifted the mass of water cut through the peninsula. Now the water there is 5 feet deep where there used to be land about 100 yards wide.