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Hilton Head Island businesses adapt to repeated flooding

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - South Carolina Senator Tim Scott recently helped re-introduce a bill that he says will assist repeatedly flooded areas in the Palmetto State.

Flooding affects a lot in the Lowcountry and specifically here at Hudson’s on Hilton Head, which is right on the water, the rising tides have caused a lot of damage over the last decade.

“Before 2006 I think we had water in the building two times since 75, since 2006 we’ve had water in the building at least 10 times,” said Andrew Carmines, Owner/General Manager of Hudson’s.

He thinks a lot of this has to do with major storms.

“Hurricane Matthew we had lots of water in the restaurant and Hurricane Irma we had lots of water in the restaurant.”

For a restaurant so closely tied to the water, there’s no avoiding it. But Carmines knows the only choice is to go with the flow of the tide.

“I mean we’re pretty close to dead even at sea level and we just have to be able to kind of be flexible and make changes and adapt.”

Those adaptations included raising the floor six inches in 2006 and another three inches after Irma. He says since 2017 no water has made it into the dining room. But knowing how unpredictable the water is, he’s not stopping there.

“Hopefully over time we can slowly bring everything up to a little bit higher level so that we can be here for another, what would it be, another 55 years or 54 years. So we’re not planning on going anywhere.”

Senator Scott says his bill would compel FEMA and local governments to take proactive steps to reduce flood risk, rather than rebuilding properties only after they flood.

It also allows FEMA to target aid to affected communities.

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