Hazards Impacting The Albemarle Region

These threats have been identified to potentially impact the Albemarle Region

Dam & Levee Failure
A dam or levee failure is the collapse or breach of a dam or levee that causes downstream flooding. Failures may be caused by natural events, manmade events, or a combination. Due to the lack of advance warning, failures resulting from natural events, such as earthquakes or landslides, may be particularly severe. Prolonged rainfall and subsequent flooding is the most common cause of dam or levee failure.
Drought is a deficiency in precipitation over an extended period. It is a normal, recurrent feature of climate that occurs in virtually all climate zones. However, drought can affect people’s health and safety. It has the potential to impact water supply, agricultural yields, and water-dependent industries. Drought conditions can also increase the likelihood of wind erosion and increase wildfire risk.
An earthquake is a movement or shaking of the ground. Most earthquakes are caused by the release of stresses accumulated as a result of the rupture of rocks along opposing fault planes in the Earth’s outer crust.
Extreme Heat
Extreme heat events are one of the leading weather-related causes of death in the United States. Extreme high temperatures compromise the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, which can result in a cascade of illnesses and can aggravate chronic conditions. Extreme heat can also cause damage to infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
Flooding is defined by the rising and overflowing of water onto normally dry land. Flooding can result from an overflow of inland waters or an unusual accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
Hurricane & Tropical Storm
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Winds can exceed 155 miles per hour. Hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes and microbursts, create storm surges along the coast, and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall.
Severe Weather (Thunderstorm Wind, Lightning, and Hail)
Thunderstorms result from the rapid upward movement of warm, moist air. They can occur inside warm, moist air masses and at fronts. Severe thunderstorm winds arise from convection and have speeds of at least 58 mph, or are winds of any speed producing a fatality, injury or damage. Lightning is an electrical discharge between positive and negative regions of a thunderstorm.
Each year, lightning is responsible for deaths, injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage across the country, including damage to buildings, communications systems, power lines, and electrical systems. Lightning also causes forest and brush fires.
Hail is associated with thunderstorms that can also bring high winds and tornadoes. It forms when updrafts carry raindrops into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice. Hailstones are usually less than two inches in diameter and can fall at speeds of 120 mph.
Severe Winter Storm
Severe winter storm can involve heavy snowfall and/or ice accumulation (generally noted when accumulation reaches ¼ inch or more), often accompanied by extreme cold, which can result in blocked roads, dangerous road and sidewalk conditions, downed trees and power lines, and hypothermia.
A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.
A wildfire is an uncontained fire that spreads through the environment. Wildfires have the ability to consume large areas, including infrastructure, property, and resources.
Coastal Erosion
Coastal erosion is the wearing away of beach and dune sediments due to winds, tidal currents, or wave action. Erosion is typically event-driven and tends to happen during periods of strong winds, high tides, and waves, such as a storm; however, continued erosion wears away the coastal profile and can create imbalance on shorelines. An eroding beach may lose feet of sand per year.