It's WINDSday| March 2, 2022

Celebrating the Power of Wind, Clean Energy and a Green Environment

Power of Wind, Rain and Tides Caused One of the Worst Nor’easters in our History,

60 Years Ago this Week

In early March 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single NBA game, the Beatles made their BBC radio debut, the Royal College of Physicians published the first major report on the dangers of smoking, and US advisors “joined the fight” in Vietnam.


Meanwhile in Hampton Roads (or whatever we called our region then), all eyes were on the skies. As Ash Wednesday, which actually is today, and the higher than usual “Spring Tide” approached, so did two powerful weather systems, one from the Midwest and a second that had moved north of us in the Atlantic and then reversed course and stalled 500 miles off the coast. Together this very imperfect storm, through five high tides, brought torrential surf and rain and water levels nine feet above normal in Norfolk and seven feet higher at the oceanfront. Winds exceeded 70mph.

IW-Ash Wednesday 5.PNG

From Daytona Beach to Cape Cod, the Ash Wednesday Storm killed 40 people, injured a thousand more and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. 33 inches of snow fell in 24 hours in western parts of Virginia. “Eastern Virginia though got hit the hardest,” says Jim Redick, Norfolk’s Emergency Services Preparedness and Response Coordinator.

Huge waves toppled houses in Virginia Beach and broke through the concrete boardwalk and seawall. On the eastern shore, Assateague and Chincoteague Islands were submerged. Health hazards from dead chickens and other animals forced evacuations. 

Just in our area, it:

  • severely damaged 363 homes and harmed 4,432 more
  • forced 1,025 people into emergency shelters for over a week
  • caused 20,000 C & P Telephone Company customers to lose service
  • destroyed 1,000 automobiles


(There is actually a display about the storm and other local history on 36th Street in Virginia Beach between Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. Check it out.)

IW-Ash Wednesday _2_.jpg

"As a result of Ash Wednesday (March 6-8, 1962), Norfolk built a strong flood wall along Waterside Drive and Virginia Beach expanded its beach and boardwalk,” says Redick. “We also have elevated buildings and changed codes everywhere.” And our respect for the power of wind, which we are now harnessing to generate electricity out at sea, grew exponentially. 

“If we don’t address climate change, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is central to that,” says ODU Professor George Hagerman, who studies the oceans and weather, “we will have Ash Wednesday Storms much more than once every 60 years.” 

IW- Ash 7.PNG

Jim Redick is a Key Regional Resource

When it Comes to Disaster Planning

By Joel Rubin


There are many people to interview about the 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm, but when you google the topic, one video comes up prominently. It’s a presentation from 2017 at the Slover Library in Norfolk by Jim Redick, that city’s guru on emergency preparedness for the past decade. Jim previously did the same for Hampton and Virginia Beach.

Redick has a bachelor’s in organizational leadership and management from Regent and a master’s in public administration from ODU, where he also teaches. Disaster planning, says Jim, is not just his job, it’s also his hobby. “I think I’ve lost my hair worrying about the worst things that can happen.” He’s also a military history buff (he served in the Navy for four years and Army National Guard for six) and is writing a book about a favorite subject, the Battle of Gettysburg, from the standpoint of a mass casualty event. “I have researched how that area in Pennsylvania responded to that pivotal and traumatic battle in 1863,” he says. “’We can learn so much about how to deal with tomorrow’s catastrophes by studying previous ones.”

Oh, are we lucky to have Jim Redick around to deal with Mother Nature’s furies, like the recent nearly day long snow-caused backup on I-95. “That could happen around here,” says Jim, “so I’m thinking about how to plan for it.” We’re counting on you Jim.

Here’s Jim’s 2017 presentation of the Ash Wednesday Storm.

Barbara Henley Keeps Princess Anne Informed on Offshore Wind

IW-Henley _2_.jpg

On at least four occasions over the past year, Princess Anne District councilwoman Barbara Henley has invited Dominion Energy representatives to address her monthly citizens forum. And for good reason. The transmission line that will bring electricity from Dominion’s CVOW project to the PJM electricity grid will pass almost thirteen miles through her district to a substation in Chesapeake.

Last week Rob Richardson from the company’s transmission division updated a nice crowd in Building 19 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Complex about the timeline for final approvals and construction (2023 for the overhead lines). There will be a State Corporation Commission online public hearing on May 16 at 10am if you want to chime in. Visit for details. 

IW-Henley _1_.jpg
IW - Henley4.PNG

Join Us This Evening for Offshore Wind Drinks!

Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn