Streams, streams and rivers crisscross the northern part of the state.
This topography, along with clay soils that absorb water slowly, increase the risk of flooding in an area that has experienced rapid development over the past decade.
Cobblestone surfaces and roofs act as water accelerators, said Cal Sawyer, associate professor of agricultural sciences at Clemson University.
“You get a water slug going through, that can do some damage,” Sawyer said.
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Federal, state and local authorities are aware of the problems around Greenville County, and elaborate online maps show where waterways are becoming diversion routes. City and county workers prepared all week by cleaning up storm sewers and positioning response teams.
In Greenville, East Park Avenue and Byrdland Drive are prone to flooding, city spokeswoman Leslie Fletcher said. In the county, the most vulnerable areas have been addressed by floodplain management and buyouts over the past decade, spokesman Bob Mihalic said.
Many houses have been demolished. Del Norte, Lake Fairfield and Kingsgate were once prone to flooding, but the county has bought homes and restored the floodplain areas, Mihalic said. The most recently approached area was Coach Hills, near Blacks Road and Roper Mountain.
“So it could very well be said that the ‘preparation’ to prevent flooding has been done over the last decade,” Mihalic wrote in an email.
If you are unsure whether your home is in a flood zone, enter your street in the “real estate search” site at:
When the list of properties appears, click on your address. A map with a red outline showing your house should appear. From there, click on “Map Themes” at the top of the page and choose “FEMA Flood Zones”.
Scroll down and you will see how close your house is to flood zones.
The City of Greenville also has an interactive map that homeowners can use to search for flood information.