Friday, February 3, 2023

Three to six inches of rain expected in New Hanover County, are you in a flood zone?

Cars driving down a flooded Canal Drive in Carolina Beach on Oct. 5, 2015. (Port City Daily photo/ HANNAH LEYVA)
Cars driving down a flooded Canal Drive in Carolina Beach on Oct. 5, 2015. (Port City Daily photo/ HANNAH LEYVA)

WILMINGTON — New Hanover County is keeping an eye on a storm that has formed off the coast of Georgia, encouraging residents to check flood maps.

Known as Potential Tropical Cyclone 10, the storm has the potential of impacting Eastern North Carolina Monday and Tuesday. The National Weather Service has placed New Hanover County under a tropical storm watch, which means, “The risk of a tropical storm has increased significantly, but its occurrence, timing, and location are still uncertain.”

One of the biggest issues facing New Hanover County is the risk of flooding when the system reaches the region, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the NWS Steve Pfaff said.

“Currently, the National Weather Service is anticipating 5 to 7 inches of rain, with the highest in the coastal areas. The ground is saturated already, so that increases the concern for flooding and the flood threat will be the greatest overnight. We encourage residents and visitors to monitor the weather through local media. Updates are also available at EmergencyNHC.com,” Emergency Management Deputy Director Zak Whicker said.

Proximity to the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Cape Fear River, and other bodies of water coupled with the low lying geography of the land in New Hanover County increase the risk of flooding. It is important to know where the highest risk areas are, and what to do in case of a flood.

North Carolina Flood Risk Information System, a searchable index of flood zones in the state. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY NCFRIS)
North Carolina Flood Risk Information System, a searchable index of flood zones in the state. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY NCFRIS)

Many homeowners will know if they are living in a flood zone since flood insurance is required for homes situated in these areas. However, for renters who may be unsure if they are living in a flood danger area, there are maps available to the public.

The State of North Carolina offers flood mapping via the Flood Risk Information System. The site allows visitors to enter their address and find out exactly what the risk of flooding at home.

According to the New Hanover County Emergency Management website, “Flooding can occur at anytime of the year and just about anywhere in New Hanover County … Whether you are in your home, driving or on foot, flooding is dangerous. Just a few inches of water can knock you off your feet or sweep your car away.”

Driving or walking in flooded areas is discouraged by the county as there are unknown risks including fast currents or submerged obstacles.

“Do not drive your car through flood waters. Most deaths in flash flooding occur in automobiles. Cars will float in less than one foot of water, and that’s when lives are seriously endangered,” according to Emergency Management.


Michael Praats can be reached via email at Michael.p@localvoicemedia.com

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