The City of Florence is committed to becoming resistant to disasters. We coordinate with local, state, and federal agencies to mitigate environmental hazards that have the potential to affect personal safety and property. Residents are encouraged to gain familiarity about flood protection. Please continue to read on below about local flood prevention measures and available public and private resources.
Floods, Flood Insurance and Flood Protection Information provided by the City of Florence
The City of Florence and Florence County participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and are responsible for managing developments within the areas subject to a 1% or greater annual chance of flooding (previously known as the 100-year floodplain). The City of Florence goes beyond the minimum NFIP requirements and participates in the Community Rating System which means a 15% flood insurance premium reduction for City residents.
FEMA maps showing floodplains are available in the City of Florence Planning, Research & Development Department, 324 W. Evans Street; in the Florence County Municipal Planning and Building Inspections Department, 518 S. Irby Street, Florence and at the Florence County Public Library. FEMA has released revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps that were adopted by the City by December 16, 2014. In addition to the revised floodplain, these maps incorporate current road and parcel information. You may also use the FEMA Map Service Center website to preview a flood map from an address search.
FEMA Map Search
Floodplains in the City of Florence
Local Flood Hazards
The relatively flat terrain of the Florence puts many areas at risk of flooding, even those not close to rivers and streams. Severe flooding occurred along Jeffries Creek in 1916 and 1945. More recently, flooding caused problems in the winters of 1994, 1998, the summer of 2004, and the fall of 2015. The main flood season for the Pee Dee Region is in the Summer and Fall, also the time of greatest risk from hurricanes and their associated rainfall.
Florence has developed a flood warning system which will be disseminated by commercial radio, T.V., NOAA weather radio and by police and fire vehicles equipped with public address systems. Local TV stations include WBTW-13, WPDE-15, WMBF, WFXB & WJPM and the Government Access Cable Channel 11. Local radio stations include: FM stations 1005.5 WHLZ, 102.1 WMXT, 105.5 WDAR & 106.3 WYNN and AM stations 1400 WJMX, 540 WYNN and 1230 WOLS.
There are several actions you can take to mitigate the flood hazard including:
- Know the flood warning procedures.
- Plan escape route to high ground.
- During times of heavy rainfall, monitor water levels. Stay tuned to radio and TV for flood warnings.
- Keep children away from flood waters, ditches, culverts and storm drains.
- Do not attempt to cross a flooding stream on foot or by car.
- If you car stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Turn off electricity and gas if evacuation is necessary.
Your homeowner’s insurance does not cover losses due to flooding. The City of Florence participates in the National Flood Insurance Program which makes flood insurance available through your insurance agent. The City of Florence also participates in the Community Rating System which entitles all City residents to a 10% reduction in their flood insurance premiums.
You do not have to live in a floodplain to purchase flood insurance or to be at risk from flooding, you can purchase flood insurance at the lower Preferred Risk Rate. Approximately 25% of all flood insurance claims nationwide are from “low-risk” areas which are not in the mapped floodplains. Separate coverage for both structures and contents is available. There is a 30 day waiting period before coverage becomes effective. To learn more about flood insurance or locate a nearby provider, please visit NFIP.
Property Protection Measures
Flood prone structures should be elevated to minimize flood damage. Our local flood ordinance requires the finished floor level of new construction in the mapped floodplain to be elevated to one foot above the Base Flood Elevation. An Elevation Certificate is required to verify this elevation and to obtain flood insurance.
Elevation Certificates are required for construction in the mapped floodplain. The lowest finished floor must be elevated one foot above the Base Flood Elevation as shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Copies of all Elevation Certificates are maintained on file.
Floodplain Development Permit Requirements
A permit is required to do any of the following in a floodplain: build, rebuild, bring in fill dirt, excavate, add onto your home or business, install an underground or above ground tank, subdivide land and place accessory buildings and temporary structures.
Contact the Florence County Municipal Planning and Building Inspections Department at 843-676-8600 for permit information. If you see work in a floodplain, call to see if the necessary permits have been obtained, we all need to help protect our floodplains.
Substantial Improvements/ Damages
If improvements or additions to a building in the floodplain equal or exceed 50% of it’s market value before the start of the improvements, the whole building must meet the same construction standards for a new building. This includes structures which have incurred substantial damage, regardless of the actual repair work performed.
Flood Protection Assistance
The City of Florence offers floodplain residents general technical assistance for those interested in protecting their homes from flooding. Certified floodplain managers are available to provide information on local flood hazards and provide resources for more details, stormwater management staff offer general advice on local drainage issues.
Drainage System Maintenance
The City of Florence requires that every proposed development must have a drainage system designed by a registered engineer to provide for the proper drainage of surface water and to permit the unimpeded flow of natural watercourses. The City also has stormwater maintenance staff who regularly inspect and maintain ditches and streams. Debris can impede the flow of water which in turn causes overflow onto street and properties.
In the City of Florence Code of Ordinance, Sec. 9-20 Littering, no person shall dump or dispose of litter upon any public or private property including streams, ditches and catch basins within the City limits. Don't pour pollutants into the storm drainage system, violations are subject to fines. Violations should be reported to the Public Works Department at 843-665-3236.
Natural and Beneficial Functions
The City of Florence has natural floodplain areas. These areas are Jeffries Creek Park, Timrod Park , Pettigrew Millpond and parts of Freedom Florence and McLeod Parks. The protected use of these lands as recreation areas leaves them in their natural state without encroachment in the floodplain. It is important to leave these areas open so they can continue to act as natural flood controls, that water quality can be improved by naturally filtering through these low-lying swamp areas and also provide habitats for both native flora and fauna.
This information is provided as a service by the City of Florence. Inquiries related to flooding issues should be made to the City of Florence Planning, Research & Development Department, 324 W. Evans Street at 843-665-2047.
Other Helpful Links
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has many helpful guides to understanding the nature of flood hazards and mitigation efforts within the State. Their website can be accessed by clicking here. SCDNR
Most of us have probably heard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA provides many resources that we here in Florence can benefit from. FEMA’s website offers a chance to explore their agency and its affects both nationally and locally. FEMA
Check out real time water levels of our Jeffords Creek here Real-Time Water Levels .