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The Flood Hazard

A Guide to Flood Hazards and How to Stay Safe

Know Your Flood Hazard

The Town of Hilton Head Island is located in a floodplain. Your property may be subject to flooding. Be informed of your flood zone, potential risk of flooding and the hazards associated with it. Know the flood zone before you buy a property. For Flood Insurance Rate Map inquiries such as FIRM dates, FIRM zones and base flood elevations, call the Town at 843-341-4757 or view this website via the links provided on the left.

The Town will also provide map information about flood problems other than those shown on the FIRM, such as local drainage, as well as information about flood depth data, coastal erosion hazard information, historical flooding and areas with natural floodplain functions that should be protected. Town staff can also advise people with questions about flood insurance.

All elevation certificates that have been submitted to the Town are maintained as public record. Copies may be obtained at no cost from the Town by using the Search option below. If you are unable to find the Certificated utilizing the Search option, please use the Request option below for staff assistance or call 843-341-4625.

For properties constructed prior to 1984, submit a Freedom of Information Act request with Beaufort Countyexternal link icon.

Insure Your Property for Your Flood Hazard

Everyone should purchase flood insurance!!! Standard homeowner or commercial policies do not cover damage to structures or contents caused by flooding. You don't have to hold a mortgage in order to purchase flood insurance. If you already have a flood insurance policy, make sure you also carry contents coverage. Renters should purchase flood insurance for their contents. To purchase flood insurance call a local licensed insurance agent to get the best rate!

Protect Your Property from the Hazard

When building a new structure in a flood hazard zone, the surest way to protect property and minimize damage is to build above the base flood elevation and strictly follow all building codes. Older properties should retrofit or elevate your home to reduce future drainage problems and flood damage.

Call the Town at 843-341-4757 to find out if grant assistance is available to help raise your house above the base flood level. Staff can also help identify what steps should be taken to protect your property. Staff is available to make site visits before providing any advice.

Some suggestions that will save you a lot of money the next time it floods would be to remove any non-water resistant materials below the base flood elevation, raise your furnace and utilities above the base flood elevation and store irreplaceable items and valuables in an area safe from flooding. Site visits can be arranged to advise property owners of the most appropriate flood protection methods. Keep debris and trash out of streams and ditches.

Protect People from the Hazard

Have an emergency plan established in advance to keep your family safe. Designate a place where your family can meet after an evacuation order is issued. Stay clear of standing water, it may be deeper than you think. Do not drive or walk through a flooded area, turn around, don’t drown. Remember to drive safely using designated evacuation routes. Stay away from dangling power lines and electrical wires. After a flood, follow proper safety precautions before using your food, water supply and septic system.

Build Responsibly

Get a permit from the Town before you build, retrofit or repair your home or business, or place fill on your property. Call the Town with any permitting questions. Know the rules on substantial damage and improvement. Follow Ordinance and Building Code requirements for construction and water quality standards. Use appropriate erosion and sediment control measures during construction. Illegal building or filling should be reported to the Town.

Coastal Erosion

Call the Town to find out the hazard of purchasing or building on a beachfront property. Protect the dunes—don't build so close to the beach. Make sure you abide by the beachfront setbacks and buffers when building on or improving your property. View more information on coastal erosion...

Flood Warning

Know what processes are in place to inform you of a flood or hurricane warning! Stay tuned to radio or television for all NOAA national weather service advisories. Local stations WYKZ 98.7 FM, WGCO 98.3 FM and WWVV 106.9 FM or SC emergency broadcast stations will give up-to-date information. Local officials will broadcast an Evacuation Order so that the Island is clear at least 12 hours prior to gale force winds. Follow directions given by plantation security, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and SC Highway Patrol troopers to the designated evacuation routes.

Have on hand extra supplies, prescription medication, bottled water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and a radio with extra batteries. Keep your car fueled.

The Town offers a free E-subscription service; sign up to receive important notifications and emergency alerts. Sign up today on our website!

Disaster Preparedness

Know your evacuation route. Develop a safety plan for your family in case of evacuation. Assemble a survival kit in advance that has items such as first-aid kit, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, etc. Inventory and photograph your home and its contents. Put important papers and insurance policies in a safe place away from potential flooding.

Before you evacuate make sure windows and doors are locked and covered with storm shutters or plywood. Easily damaged items should be moved to the highest location possible. Move outdoor furniture and potted plants indoors. Unplug small appliances and turn off all utilities. Chemicals, insecticides, herbicides or gasoline should be put in water tight containers and in a high spot.

To prepare for the eventuality of a hurricane, everyone should be aware of the Town's Citizen's Guide to Emergency Preparedness. It contains evacuation routes and property protection measures. View the Town's website for more details.

image of permitsWhat Happens After the Storm?

Find out if it is safe to enter a building after a disaster or major flooding event. Get permits before you build back. After a flood, follow proper safety precautions before using your food, water supply and septic system.



Protect Natural Floodplain Functions

Keep the Town's water clean—don't dump oil, grease or other pollutants in storm drains and ditches as they lead to waterways. Do not drain pools directly to streams or lagoons. Limit your use of pesticides and fertilizers. Scoop the poop—keep pet waste off the beach and from entering waterways.

Improve water quality with Green infrastructure. Use appropriate erosion and sediment control measures during construction. Maintain natural buffers along wetlands and the beach. Know the benefits of planting more trees. Sea oats and other beach plants help stabilize our sand dunes; enjoy them but don't pick them!

Protect the habitat of critical wildlife species. Observe our waterfront wildlife from a distance. Avoid marked turtle nesting areas and leave bird eggs and nests on the beach.

Town staff inspects the drainage channels twice a year for any problems which might cause local flooding. To reinforce the need to protect our drainage network the Town's Municipal Code 17-6-111 prohibits the alteration of the drainage system by dumping refuse or debris.

The Town can answer inquiries or investigate any reports of illegal alteration of protected natural areas or drainage channels. Please call 843-341-4757 or view this website.

Important Agencies and Contacts

Town of Hilton Head Island
One Town Center Court
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Beaufort County Library, Hilton Head Branch
11 Beach City Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
www.beaufortcountylibrary.orgexternal link icon

SC Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
www.dnr.sc.govexternal link icon

Federal Emergency Managment Agency (FEMA)
Region IV
3003 Chamblee Tucker Road
Atlanta, GA 30341
www.fema.govexternal link icon
US Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District
69A Haygood Ave
Charleston, SC 29403
www.sac.usace.army.milexternal link icon
Office of Coastal Resource Management
1362 McMillan Ave., Suite 400
Charleston, SC 29405
www.scdhec.govexternal link icon

www.FloodSmart.govexternal link icon