The 2023 Hurricane Season begins on June 1st, and the Topsail region must once again prepare for the potential risks brought by inclement weather and tropical storms. To enhance the resiliency of our communities, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is preparing to hold three public engagement sessions in June.
A public notice has been issued on the Pender County Government website, noting that these sessions provide an important opportunity for residents to voice their experiences and concerns about how flooding affects our communities.
Topsail Region & Historical Flooding
Our region is no stranger to the devastating impacts of flooding.
For decades, tropical storm systems and hurricanes have posed significant threats to our communities — with the highest danger occurring during hurricane season. In September of 2018, Hurricane Florence made history for all the wrong reasons as it dropped more than 35″ of rain in North Carolina, causing catastrophic flooding and billions in damages across the state.
Pender County, a major part of the greater Topsail region, was not spared. Roads, businesses, and utilities were inundated, causing significant disruptions that lasted for weeks.
The Fallout from Hurricane Florence
WECT reported that during the peak of the storm, there were 350 rescues in just two days due to closed roads and flooded neighborhoods.
Overall, over 1,000 people were rescued, and the county saw a staggering 3,882 flood-damaged structures. The scars of this event remain today and serve as a stark reminder of the importance of flood mitigation and community resiliency.
DEQ’s Initiative: Public Engagement Sessions
To help address these challenges, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold three public engagement sessions in June. These sessions aim to gather public input on how flooding, flood mitigation, and resiliency impact our communities. Residents of the Topsail area and its surrounding communities are encouraged to attend and share their experiences, ideas, and concerns.
The sessions will be held as follows:
- New Bern: 4-7 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023 (203 S. Front St., New Bern, NC 28560)
- Lumberton: 4-7 p.m. Thursday, June 8, 2023 (1702 West 5th Street, Lumberton, NC 28358)
- Wilmington: 4-7 p.m. Friday, June 9, 2023 (230 Government Center Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403)
Spanish interpretation services will be available at all meetings.
The Flood Resiliency Blueprint: A Proactive Approach
One of the major outcomes of these sessions will be the development of the North Carolina Flood Resiliency Blueprint.
This statewide initiative aims to identify and address flooding in North Carolina communities, develop an online decision support tool for flood mitigation strategies, and establish a systematic methodology for prioritizing and implementing these strategies.
Your Voice Matters
As we brace for the upcoming hurricane season, these public engagement sessions offer a platform for the Topsail community to play an active role in shaping our future response to floods and flood-related responses. As able, we recommend attending and contributing to the upcoming public sessions.