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Wilson pushes proactive flood prep measures

Posted on June 23, 2022

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Floodwater swamped Bill’s Barbecue and surrounding businesses near the corner of Downing Street and Forest Hills Road after Hurricane Matthew deluged rivers and creeks in October 2016.

Olivia Neeley | Times file photo

Floodwater swamped Bill’s Barbecue and surrounding businesses near the corner of Downing Street and Forest Hills Road after Hurricane Matthew deluged rivers and creeks in October 2016.

bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7821

Wilson residents at a greater risk of flooding can expect a proactive reminder coming soon in the mail.

“One inch of floodwater devastates a home,” said Alan Winstead, a local insurance agent and a member of the city’s flood committee. “It is very expensive and can just ruin a family, so flood insurance is critical. And it is available to everyone.”

A flyer listing 10 steps to prepare for a potential flood is hitting mailboxes soon. Wilson Land Development Manager Janet Holland said the effort is only one component in the city’s process to get Wilsonians ready for inclement weather. And residents can reap a financial reward from their efforts.

“The Community Rating System is basically a golf score, so the lower the rate, the better the insurance discount,” Holland said. “When the city started in the program after Hurricane Floyd in 1999, we came in at a Class 10. We worked our way down to a 9, then a 7 and a 6, but now we are a Class 5.”

The city achieved the Class 5 rating in 2016, and the classification resulted in up to a 25% discount — an average of $80 to $370 depending on the location — for homes, businesses and other locations. Class 5 is the lowest and best rating inland communities can receive. To maintain that designation, stakeholders are mounting efforts to get the word out and holding committee meetings to lead the charge.

Winstead said reducing repetitive loss from flooding is a huge step toward protecting people and property.

“Hurricane Matthew was the next major flood event since Hurricane Floyd, and we had approximately 50 households that were damaged, with four of those that we acquired and demolished,” Holland said, explaining that the city used Federal Emergency Management Agency money to relocate people who have experienced repetitive flood damage. “In Floyd, we acquired over 400 properties, so comparatively, we’re looking at one-tenth following Hurricane Matthew. That is due to the acquisitions and demolitions, efforts to keep the floodplains open and available while not allowing new structures without taking the necessary precautions.”

Employees in the city’s stormwater department also work hard to keep ditches, channels and stormwater features clear so that when a storm happens, the water can flow downstream.

“If water flows downhill and we can keep it flowing, we can improve the scope of emergency situations,” Holland said.

Visit the shortened link tinyurl.com/kvhjt5xm to learn more about the city’s stormwater efforts.

Flood preparation tips

• Know your hazard by reviewing flood maps for your property.

• Insure your property regardless of your flood hazard level.

• Protect yourself and your family by monitoring storm information.

• Protect your property by moving valuables to higher ground in a storm.

• Build responsibly with easements and elevations.

• Protect natural floodplain functions to slow and disperse water.

• Be prepared before a hurricane is on the horizon.

• Keep an emergency supply with food, water, flashlights and other essentials.

• Reduce stormwater flooding with development that allows for water runoff.

• Ensure that you’re educated about flooding and share preparation tips with children.

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