Jeff Masters Weather Blog

The surprising climate vulnerabilities of the world’s largest naval base » Yale Climate Connections

Norfolk, Virginia, is vulnerable to flooding as seas rise and extreme storms batter the coast.

Flooding threatens local communities and the world’s largest naval base, which is located there.

So the military and local municipalities are working together to tackle the problem.

Hannah Teicher of the Harvard Graduate School of Design recently studied the topic.

“You might think that a military base can just kind of … take care of itself, but that’s really not the case,” she says. “The military will literally depend on the water and electricity from the surrounding utilities. And also, most people who work on a base actually live off the base.”

So if roads flood, military personnel may be unable to get to work.

The Department of Defense has partnered with Norfolk and other cities to pinpoint the most flood-prone areas, and identify strategies — such as elevating roads — to help minimize risk.

Teicher says this type of partnership could help reduce disruptions to military operations, and help cities access Department of Defense funding for flood prevention projects.

“If you look at a map of the D.O.D. presence … there are bases in every state. So it’s just a huge, untapped opportunity,” she says.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media

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