AP NEWS

South Carolina county wants disaster money for river gauges

February 18, 2019

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (AP) — Officials in a South Carolina county are asking the state to spend some of its disaster money on permanent gauges to measure river levels.

Georgetown County Emergency Manager Sam Hodge says temporary gauges placed during Hurricane Florence’s flooding last year were helpful.

But Hodge says because the gauges aren’t in place all the time, flooding forecasts struggle to include influences from ocean tides.

Forecasters predicted unprecedented flooding that never materialized.

Hodges says accurate forecasts could keep the county from evacuating thousands of people when only hundreds will be flooded.

City of Georgetown spokesman Ricky Martin says forecasts of 6 feet (1.8 meters) of floodwater downtown turned out to be no worse than the highest normal tides. Martin says inaccurate predictions could cause residents to ignore evacuation orders next time.