‘Historic’ flood protections now in place as Horry County works toward resiliency plan

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — New flood prevention measures are now in effect for Horry County after the county council’s vote Tuesday night.

New homes in flood zones must now have a three-foot freeboard elevation, which is the distance between the flood line and first floor.

A local group calls the new measures historic, but still wants to see more done.

“In our humble opinion, these are some of the best flood protection measures in the state, even in the nation,” April O’Leary, the founder of Horry County Rising, said.

O’Leary has been pushing for months to get the new building codes. She said following the vote, her group will continue to focus on pushing for a county flood plan.

“The flood plan should define what projects we’re going to go after, how we’re going to secure the funding, who we’re saving,” O’Leary said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to help the most vulnerable families.”

Kelly Moore, a county spokesperson, said a resiliency plan is in the works, and that elements that will eventually be in the plan are already being rolled out — like a new online tool that allows homeowners and potential buyers to see flood zones.

“You’ve seen the supplemental flood zone, things like that have all been built into this plan as part of it,” Moore said. “So the county’s not waiting on a document to start implementing some of these things.”

County council has also approved new flood maps. Moore said although the county encourages everyone to have flood insurance, it will be required in one of the new flood zones when FEMA puts it into effect come December. The one impacted for insurance is the preliminary flood insurance rate map, marked as “proposed” here.

“If you are not in that high-risk area now and it looks like you might be moving to that high-risk area based on those new maps, there are actually some potential benefits for going ahead and purchasing that flood insurance before that December date takes effect,” Moore said.

Those potential benefits include the possibility of saving money.

Moore added that around 15 people have gone through the first enrollment step in the buyout program for part of Socastee. Count on News13 for updates.

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