CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The rain and high tide combo is a perfect recipe for tidal flooding. News 2 spoke with Charleston’s emergency management director about how the city prepares for this kind of weather.
Ben Almquist says preparing for days where flooding is a possibility starts with a lot of coordination.
“EMD staff coordinates closely with the National Weather Service,” Almquist said, “other government agencies and climate services.”
After receiving word of a potential threat for hazardous conditions, Almquist relays that information to city agencies.
“Police department,” he said, “fire department, stormwater, traffic and transit and everything, so they’ve got all the information they need to be able to do the actual physical work out in the field.”
He says emergency management targets certain areas around the city that are known to be high-flood-risk zones.
“The Peninsula is a little bit more subject to flooding than other areas,” Almquist said. “But there are parts of West Ashley, Cainhoy, Daniel Island, James and Johns Island. They’ve all got their own pockets that we know are going to flood.”
Almquist calls it a delicate balance when alerting residents of potential flooding.
“If we push it out too often,” he said, “people kind of become noise blind. We want to let them know, ‘Hey, yes we know it floods all the time, but if you’re getting this information, it’s because we think it might be especially dangerous this time.’”
He says flooding issues won’t be solved overnight.
“It’s going to take a lot of effort, a lot of work,” Almquist said.
Emergency management encourages residents to stay vigilant and examine how severe conditions may be before driving on the roads.
“Check the maps see if there’s flooding downtown or in West Ashley,” he said, “whatever part of the city that you’re in, and plan accordingly.”
The most up-to-date weather information can be found by downloading the Storm Team 2 Weather App.