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Rick Shapiro
Rick Shapiro
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Nor'easter heightens drowning risks to Hampton Roads (VA) residents

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The Nor’easter that blew into Hampton Roads Wednesday afternoon may be one for the record books – but hopefully residents will exercise common sense and stay safe.

The greatest hazard to human life during Nor’easters and other severe coastal storms is drowning while behind the wheel. The National Weather Service says that more than half of all storm-related drownings come when someone drives into water.

“People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream,” the weather service says on its Web site. “Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.”

In Norfolk, city emergency managers are urging drivers to be especially cautious both Thursday and Friday from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., WAVY-TV reported. These times are when tides are expected to reach their apex.

Typically, in Norfolk, these streets flood: Hampton Boulevard north of Old Dominion University, Tidewater Drive south of Brambleton Avenue, and large parts of the Hague, Willoughby, East Ocean View, Larchmont and Edgewater.

The weather service has these suggestions to avoid drowning in a storm:

• Listen to NOAA weather radio or another trusted news source

• If flooding occurs, get to higher ground

• Avoid areas already flooded and don’t try to cross flowing water

• Don’t drive on flooded roadways; the road may be washed out

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.