ODU project brings awareness to future tidal flooding in Norfolk

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Old Dominion University students are using the highest tide of the year, the king tide, to bring awareness to the future of tidal flooding and its impact.

It’s the first year the students have conducted the Blue Line Project, which marks where the high tide in the future will rise in three Norfolk neighborhoods: Cambridge Crescent in Larchmont, the ODU Sailing Center and the Chrysler Museum.

Three different blue dotted lines and flags will mark where scientists believe a normal high tide will occur in 2050, 2080 and 2100 at the three designated locations.

Geology professor Thomas Allen says king tide in those future years will be much higher.

“Everyone begins to know where on the ground those little spots are, those little nooks and crannies some of our roads and major roads. So, those are not going to get easier to get around without intervention,” he said.

Allen says he hopes his students can also learn from these projects and will become future urban planners or scientists who can help with sea level rise and tidal flooding.

His students, who were broken up into teams, were glad to be out of the classroom and using their work to highlight the issue for others.

“Hopefully, they’ll be a little shocked. Some people will already be in the know and say I can already see that. For the majority of people, maybe they’ll come out here and say we need to make some kind of change to keep this from happening,” said student Kevin White.

Classmate Andres Barros agreed.

“It’s just a good perspective of what’s going to happen in the future,” Barros said.

Those involved hope residents who come out and take a look at their project will be inspired to take action.

“I don’t want to be the scientist who takes exclusively advocacy approach to things, but a certain level, there’s a responsibility to raise the awareness of impacts,” he said.

King tide is expected to reach its peak at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. Students will be out at the three locations to discuss their project.

For more on the Blue Line Project, click here.

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