Virginia Beach city officials want monitors to predict flooding

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia Beach has set its aim on sea level rise once again.

Earlier in April, 10 On Your Side told you about the city’s plan to fund beach replenishment into the future. The city now has a plan to deal with flooding and the sea level rise. Interestingly enough, It’s an idea they got from the Midwest.

Rob Jessen is the coordinator of the city’s geospatial information systems. On any given day Jessen is pouring over city maps, as he is in charge of mapping out the resort city. Lately his eye has been on the sections that flood.

At a conference last year, a Midwest state’s plan to deal with flooding gave Jessen an idea. He said Iowa officials placed sonar sensors in low lying areas, much like the one under the Rudee Inlet Bridge.

“What the sensors do is they have predictive analyzers built into the sensors, so you can tell if any area is going to flood before it floods,” Jessen said.

This year, Jessen and public works have placed a similar plan in next year’s budget; around 50 similar sensors across the city.

“We can predict the tides very accurately, but when we have a surge on top of that, is when the sensors would come in and give us warning an hour or two before,” Jessen said.

Jessen said the plan will help immediately give the city information to people in danger. The cost comes in around $300,000 dollars over the next three years. According to Jessen, the payoff will go beyond that.

“It also gives us a historical long term data so we can monitor long range trends such as sea level rise,” he explained.

A monitor for the rising tide in Virginia Beach.

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