Georgetown County officials want permanent river gauges for accurate flooding predictions

VIDEO: Georgetown County officials want permanent river gauges for accurate flooding predictions

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - After several flooding events in Georgetown County, officials want permanent river gauges installed.

Sam Hodge, Georgetown County’s emergency manager, said permanent gauges would help officials make more accurate predictions about flooding levels during hurricanes and tidal events.

“The lack of accurate modeling for tidal waters was a huge setback for Georgetown County Emergency Management last year during Hurricane Florence,” the county’s newsletter said. “The state is responsible for flood modeling, and the models available for Georgetown County were either inaccurate or not available at all due to the difficulty of predicting flooding in tidal areas.”

Officials say past discrepancies, especially following Hurricane Florence, have cost the county the public’s trust and could cost lives if people choose to ignore the recommendations of public safety officials in the future, the newsletter stated.

Hodge said permanent river gauges could mean the difference between evacuating thousands of people and evacuating dozens in an emergency situation.

“The state brings down some portable gauges, which is great, but we only have a short window of data that we have to use,” Hodge said. “For good modeling, we really need that constant data to go, that historic data, to go back to. So instead of having data 365 days of the year, we may only have data for 10 or 15 days at a time.”

Georgetown County is working to submit this project to the state Disaster Recovery Office for possible funding from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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