Seabrook Island is located about twenty (20) miles southwest of Charleston. It is known for its beauty characterized by its picturesque marshes, lush maritime forests of live oak, palmetto and pine and a wide sandy beach on the Atlantic Ocean and inlet leading to the Intercoastal Waterway. Because Seabrook Island is a floodplain, the community has decided to work with its natural environment rather than destroy it.
Flood plains perform important natural functions, including temporary storage of flood waters, moderation of peak flows, maintenance of water quality, groundwater recharge, and most importantly for Seabrook Island, prevention of erosion. They also provide habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities, and aesthetic benefits. Some of these functions are lost during land development, resulting in flooding of areas.
Because of its location, the primary factors contributing to flooding on Seabrook Island are its openness to the Atlantic Ocean surges and unfavorable bathymetry extending offshore. These factors make the island susceptible to flooding during hurricanes and tropical storms. The last major hurricane occurred in 1989. With the entrance of Hurricane Hugo, there came flooding throughout Charleston County. Seabrook Island only suffered minor damages but if Hugo had landed 20 miles south of Charleston, considerable flood damage could have occurred.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE A FLOOD
Determine if your property is located in area subject to flooding. If your property is not located in one of the areas with known flooding, determine the flood zone your in which your property is located. This determination will be made for Seabrook Island properties by the Town of Seabrook Island Zoning Department at (803) 768-9121. If you are in an “A” zone, your property is within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). If you are in a “V” zone, your property is subject to velocity wave action in addition to rising water. Flood maps are available in the Charleston County Public Libraries and Seabrook Island Town Hall.
The Town of Seabrook Island participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This makes it possible for property owners and renters to purchase flood insurance. NOTE: FLOODING IS NOT COVERED BY A STANDARD HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE POLICY. A separate flood insurance policy is required to covered damage incurred by flooding. Presently, Seabrook Island has about 408 policies in force with total value worth $165,699,700, since April 1998. The cost of coverage is based upon the amount of coverage and your compliance with NFIP regulations regarding finished flood elevation standards.
Flood insurance is available for buildings only, contents only, or both buildings and contents. Below is a list of maximum coverage availability:
Type of Coverage Limits*
Residential Structure $250,000
Residential Contents $100,000
Non-residential Structure $500,000
Non-residential Contents $500,000
*includes basic plus additional layers of coverage
Consult your insurance agent for specific policy information. Flood insurance information is also available at the Charleston County Public Libraries.
Maintain drainage channels free of obstruction and debris. The Seabrook Island Property Owner’s Association performs cleaning and maintenance activities on the drainage channels on the Island. Residents are encouraged to assist in maintaining the channels in their areas by removing or reporting obstructions (i.e. debris, trash, etc.). Keeping channels free of obstruction reduces flooding in the event of heavy rains. In efforts to ensure clear drainage channels, the Council for the Town of Seabrook Island has adopted Ordinance No. 1996-03. This ordinance prohibits illegal dumping in channels, streams, ditches, rivers, sewers, storm sewers and other waterways within the Town’s corporate limits. Questions regarding the ditch cleaning program may be addressed to the Seabrook Island Property Owner’s Association at (803)768-0061.
Protect your property from the hazards of flooding and wind. Various methods may be used to minimize flooding. If the floor level of you property is lower than the “Base Flood Elevation”, consider elevating your structure, if possible. Brochures discussing flood proofing and other mitigation measures are available at the Charleston County Public Libraries and Charleston County Building Inspection Services at (803)723-6745. If a flood is imminent, property can be protected by sandbagging areas subject to the entry of water into living spaces. Valuables and furniture may be moved to higher areas of the dwelling to minimize damages. Attaching plywood over windows and patio doors may help protect against high wind damages associated with hurricanes.
Keep an emergency supply of non-perishable food, water, batteries, flashlights, a manual can opener, and a battery operated radio available.
WHAT TO DO DURING A FLOOD
If your property is in danger of flooding, turn off the electricity at the main disconnect. If gas appliances are in danger of being disconnected by flooding action, shut off the gas at the main disconnect.
Weather advisories are posted by the National Weather Service, which monitors hurricane and severe weather activities. The Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Division notifies the Town of Seabrook Island, which in turn alerts the residents of possible danger. Evacuation orders will be given if conditions warrant this action. Television and radio stations participating in the Emergency Broadcast System will announce emergency instructions. If evacuations are called, it is imperative that you follow instructions in the time frame noted. In the case of Seabrook Island, the entire island MUST EVACUATE. For a map of the designated evacuation routes click here
Any questions regarding emergency procedures may be addressed to the Seabrook Island at (803)768-9121 or the Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Division at (803)554-5951.
If dangerous flooding conditions are imminent, avoid driving a vehicle if possible. Do not attempt to drive or wade through deep pockets of water or running washes.
Avoid low lying areas. Seek shelter in the highest area possible.
The following services are available to Seabrook Island Property Owners from Charleston County and the Town of Seabrook Island:
Know your flood hazard. Flood maps and flood protection materials are available at the Charleston county Public Libraries. Also, site specific flood data (i.e. depth of flooding over a building’s first floor, historical flooding in the area, etc.) are provided by the County of Charleston Building Inspection Services at (803)723-6745.
Upon request, site visits evaluating your property to review its flood problems may be arranged. During the visit, the property owner is given assistance in selecting the most appropriate flood protection measures. Also, advice about developing or improving a property may be reviewed.
Various methods are used to protect structures from flood damage. The County of Charleston Building Inspection Services maintains a listing of all licensed contractors and consultants who are knowledgeable about flood proofing and retrofitting techniques and construction. Handouts on selecting qualified contractors are also available.
This information is provided by the Town of Seabrook Island and is only applicable to properties within the Town of Seabrook Island. If you reside in a jurisdiction other than the Town of Seabrook Island, contact your regulatory authority for information.
For more flood protection information please visit:
The National Flood Insurance Program at: https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart
Charleston County at: http://www.charlestoncounty.org/departments/building-inspection-services/flood-plain.php