HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - During Friday’s Horry County Subcommittee meeting on flooding, new maps revealed to the county by a researcher from Western Carolina University showed what many Horry County neighbors suspected all along.
Their home was in a flood zone, and FEMA wasn’t aware of it.
“Now we know where the flood risk is, there’s no debating it,” said April O’Leary, founder of Horry County Rising and a member of the subcommittee.
O’Leary said she’s not sure why FEMA’s maps we’re so different from the new ones the subcommittee looked at today.
“How egregious the FEMA maps and what Rob Young and his team pulled together, so that’s really important so understanding that, had we had that information, you know, Aberdeen, Polo Farms, these communities I work really closely with wouldn’t have happened,” she said.
But she said what’s important now is that no new families move into areas newly designated as in a flood zone.
Subcommittee chair and Horry County Councilman Orton Bellamy says what comes next is a snag-and-drag effort along the Waccamaw River. It’ll work to clean debris and make the river flow better.
“We’ve received state funding from the state government, for about $300,000 to start the snag-and-drag project,” he said. “But as we’ve discussed today there’s a possibility that we will not have to go through the Army Corps of Engineers to do the actual work.”
O’Leary said it likely won’t have a huge impact on flooding, rather just the navigability of the river.
She said, more than anything, she’s impressed with the progress the county has made investing time in other flooding projects. While areas across the county still flood repeatedly, she said no one else in the country is working on a project this large in scale.
“We needed to do more to adapt to these heavier precipitations and mitigate the damage. Part of it is that relying on other entities, like FEMA, or HUD or the Army Corps of engineers is really not gonna help us be resilient,” said O’Leary.
The subcommittee also gave an update on the buyout program.
Right now, they said the county is in the process of applying for state funding.