Myrtle Beach city leaders revising plans for major emergencies and flooding

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – City leaders are planning for different types of crises, from hurricanes or earthquakes to tragic accidents or terrorism.

Many in Myrtle Beach woke up Wednesday to see Tropical Storm Bertha form right off the South Carolina coast. This storm was not even close to historic, but city leaders are planning for typical coastal flooding and more unexpected emergencies. Myrtle Beach is looking to improve its floodplain management and hazard mitigation plans for the next five years.

Those plans are graded by how well risks are prevented in what’s called the community rating system (CRS), which could save homeowners money.

“To try to get those flood insurance premiums down, the CRS program basically asks for us, through this process, to go above and beyond what the baseline standard is,” said Ryan Wiedenman, a senior planner at consulting firm Atkins.

The committee to develop these plans met for the first time virtually Wednesday. The goal is to minimize the damage from crises like natural disasters or terrorism, as well as the flooding that’s more common for a coastal city.

Some parts of Myrtle Beach that draw complaints are in the Withers Basin. That’s where consultants last year said more than 30 stormwater upgrades were needed.

Another section to watch is the Market Common because of updated flood maps from Horry County.

“The original information that we got included new flood zones for those areas because the former Air Force base had never been studied for a flood map,” said city planner Allison Hardin.

Hazard mitigation plans haven’t required anything for pandemics, but especially because of the coronavirus, more safety protocols for them could be added.

“It wasn’t mandated, but I do think some of it will move to that direction like infectious disease, as well as pandemics,” said Margaret Walton, a senior planner at Atkins.

The city has a survey available until June 30 for residents to give input on the floodplain management and hazard mitigation plans. You can click here to take the survey.

A public meeting will be held on June 3 at 1 p.m.

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