By Sarah Hutchins
© August 22, 2011
When Deborah Miller bought her Colonial Place home almost 30 years ago, she had no idea that nor’easters and hurricanes would leave her with property damages totaling $100,000.
She raised her furniture on blocks, moved her car to higher ground and watched as water inched up through her floor vents.
Hurricane Isabel sent 21 inches of water into the yard in 2003. The last nor’easter was even worse, she said.
A recent study by an environmental group has highlighted a reality Miller – and city officials – know all too well:
Without an extensive levee system, Norfolk could be mostly underwater in less than 90 years.
The report by the Natural Resources Defense Council is just another example of why the city needs to start taking serious action now, said Skip Stiles, executive director of Wetlands Watch, a Norfolk-based environmental group.
“You can see the impacts now,” he said. “It’s going to keep getting worse and worse.”
City officials acknowledge the need for a long-term solution to flooding but say it will be at least a year before they can apply for the necessary federal funding and even longer before major improvements could begin.
Alice Kelly, assistant director of Norfolk Public Works, said the delay isn’t due to a lack of concern.
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