Surfside Beach officials say town is prepared for hurricane season

Hurricane Expo
SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The official start of hurricane season is June 1. As we gear up for the new hurricane season. Communities are doing everything they can to protect you. A few years ago, the south end of Surfside had some flooding issues. Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Childs said the community has constantly been working on its storm water issues, and is now in fairly good shape.

The town just recently finished the $600,000 project at the 5th Avenue Swash on Ocean Boulevard that crews started work on about a year ago. Mayor Childs said it just opened to the public on Friday.

If you've driven around town, you've probably noticed the ditches have been cleared out. Childs said crews are constantly checking the town's drainage issues. During the storm, a crew member is out on the beach at all times clearing the swashes and ensuring the ponds are flowing out to the ocean.

He said with a great deal of help, the town has been able to stay ahead of the storm water issues and are prepared for this upcoming hurricane season.

Now, the north end of town is the next storm water project Childs hopes to start work on. But, the challenge to that is funding.
“Storm water is a very expensive issue. You can imagine getting construction companies come in here. We had a consultant about a year ago do a study to possibly do a storm water impact fee. If you live near the ocean, and you live near the rivers, you’re always going to expect having a certain amount of water issues-- and the town at this point just does not have this kind of money to do these expensive construction projects,” said Childs.
As we head into the new hurricane season, experts stress the importance of knowing your zones. Right now, you can find the current effective flood zone map from 2003 on the Horry County GIS Map. In 2015, a proposed flood zone map was released.

Coordinator of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Flood Mitigation Program, Maria Lamm, said they're currently nearing the end of the process. She said they expect within the next 6 months, a revised proposed preliminary map to be released.

Lamm also noted every community that participates in the national flood insurance program has a local floodplain manager, available for information specific to each community.

Experts say if you live in areas prone to flooding, keep updated pictures or videos of your home for insurance purposes. Keep a safe box of important documents that's easy to grab and make sure to re-stock non-perishable foods, flashlights and batteries.

Also, keep in mind if you live close to a flood zone, you could be at increased risk, because there's a chance the storm can exceed that mapped floodplain.

"Make sure you know your flood zone and you know if any of your evacuation routes would be cut off if you were to evacuate, you want to evacuate early. The best possible scenario is to evacuate early, especially when you live in a flood zone, you're at the highest risk of flooding with a hurricane. The thing you want to do if you by chance don't get out -- know what routes would still be open, what roads might overtop, what ways are going to be cut off for you, and know is it safer for you at that point ride out the storm and wait for someone to get you? You need to know that kind of information if you live in the floodplain," said Lamm.

It’s important to have a plan in place to go over with your family.
Our WMBF First Alert Hurricane Expo will be on Thursday, May 31 from 4 to 7 p.m. on the plaza in front of Ripley's Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach. The event is free to the public and  family-friendly.

Whether you have questions about the local evacuation zones, being better prepared to ride out a hurricane in your home, insurance or home repairs, the hurricane expo will have experts on hand to provide useful information.

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