NORFOLK, Va. — Residents of Norfolk and Virginia beach declared states of emergency Sunday after Hurricane Matthew pummeled the Tidewater region with heavy winds and rains, causing significant flooding and knocking down trees and power lines.
Norfolk International Airport recorded 10 inches of rain from the storm, which moved off the coast and out to sea after being downgraded overnight to a post-tropical cyclone.
The Virginia National Guard said it was staging about 160 soldiers in the Hampton Roads area with Humvees, light/medium tactical trucks and chainsaws to be ready to assist with flood-response operations.
Several roads in the area, including major underpasses in Norfolk, were inundated, while others were blocked by down trees.
Meanwhile, police in Hampton were investigating the death of a man who was found unresponsive after reportedly leaving his home to check on storm damage. Authorities say dispatchers received a call shortly after midnight Sunday about a possible drowning on Sherry Dell Drive.
Fire and rescue officers from the Hampton Police Division responded to the scene, where they learned that the man had gone outside of his home to check for damage from the storm. He was found a short time later unresponsive and in standing water.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hampton Police spokesman Sgt. Matt Bond said the death appears to storm related, but that it’s possible the man may have died of natural causes and not drowning. Authorities would not be able to confirm a cause of death without an autopsy, Bond added.
Dominion Virginia Power reported more than 225,000 customers without power in Southeastern Virginia as of 10:30 a.m. As of 3:30 p.m., about 184,000 customers remained without power.
Wind gust of up to 80 mph were recorded off the Virginia Beach oceanfront on Saturday night, said Mike Montefusco, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Wakefield, Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Health said portions of Lynnhaven, Broad and Linkhorn Bays would be closed to shellfish harvesting until Oct. 31 because of potential contamination from floodwaters and sewage overflows.