By Michal Higdon, Riley Bean, and Live 5 Web Staff | October 6, 2020 at 8:03 AM EDT - Updated October 6 at 9:03 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County Council passed the third and final reading to approve new FEMA flood maps.
The vote took place on Tuesday evening and was unanimous. Officials say these new flood maps are set to go into effect in Jan. 2021, the first updates since 2004.
According to the county’s Building Services Director, there are more than 80,000 buildings that have a new flood zone designation. Despite conventional thinking that more properties may shift to a higher risk category, officials say the maps actually show the flood risk is decreasing.
Officials say residents are seeing a reduction in base flood elevation throughout the county. They say these new maps show a lot of people will move from a VE zone, which is the highest risk, to an AE zone. Additionally, officials say some people are staying within the AE zone, but dropping base flood level.
In general, officials say it means construction projects will not need to build as high off the ground and many people can look forward to cheaper insurance.
The caveat with these new maps, however, is they only reflect hurricane storm surge flooding and officials say they do not reflect the areas that flood when there is an extensive amount of rainfall.
Charleston County leaders say the overall feedback of the new maps is positive and that they’re actually looking forward to the new maps.
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