Storm Preparations Pay Off

The Takeaway: Emergency permitting program helped state return to normal, faster, after Hurricane Mathew.

Pre-planning and technology enabled South Carolina’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management to hit the ground running after Hurricane Matthew slammed the state’s coast, causing nearly $341 million in damages. Within two weeks, this office had evaluated 1,466 sites and issued 200-plus emergency permits for structure repair.

Emergency orders by the office’s overseeing agency enabled residents to use sand bags, sand scraping, and beach renourishment for oceanfront protection. For structures damaged beyond repair, engineers were made available to complete assessments and guide property owners through regulatory processes for rebuilding or, in the case of erosion-control structures, removal.

National estimates of insured losses related to Hurricane Matthew range from $1.5 billion to $7 billion. Coastal tourism and recreation contributes $2.9 billion to South Carolina's gross domestic product and supports 2,807 businesses. Getting this industry up and running as quickly as possible after a natural disaster is vital to every coastal state’s economy.

The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management is part of the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control. It is supported by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management through the National Coastal Zone Management Program. (2017)

More Information: South Carolina Coastal Zone Management Program

Partners: Federal Emergency Management Agency, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Fast Fact: Did you know that the National Flood Insurance Program saves the nation approximately $1.7 billion annually in avoided flood losses? For more statistics related to this story, check out Hazard Mitigation Value and Tourism and Recreation.