Research depicts flood-prone areas in Tyrrell County

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Recently published research reveals that much of Trrell County east of NC 94 is “vulnerable” to inundation.

Lindsey Smart, doctoral candidate in the Center for Geospatial Analytics within the College of Natural Resources at NC State University, states that “The areas in gray-black (on the accompanying map) are areas we have deemed “vulnerable” to flooding, saltwater intrusion, and sea level rise. The vulnerability is simply determined by the land area’s elevation in meters, as long as it is hydrologically connected in some way to the estuarine system.”

The classes are broken into what researchers deemed “vulnerability” classes — using global sea level rise scenarios and the elevation as determined by Light Detection and Ranging.

The black category are those areas that are less than 0.25 meter (a little less than 1 foot) in elevation and are hydrologically connected to Albemarle Sound or Alligator River. The dark gray areas are 0.50 meter in elevation, and the lighter gray areas are 0.75 meter in elevation.

The image does not take into account (1) different rates of subsidence or accretion along the waterfront or (2) infrastructural characteristics or water management structures that work to mitigate some of the inundation impacts.

Smart reminds that “this is merely a guide to potential vulnerability but there is an inherent level of uncertainty in all of the maps produced.”

The map reinforces the belief that the most suitable land for development near Columbia lies to the northeast of the town limits.