A week after Florence made landfall, the hurricane’s after-effects are still being felt in parts of South Carolina, and flooding is expected to make things worse.
The Sampit River is one of five that connects to the Atlantic Ocean within and near Georgetown on the South Carolina coast. Days after Hurricane Florence battered the state, it continues to leave a destructive footprint as record flooding is expected to submerge Georgetown county.
Recommendations for evacuation have already been sent to 8,000 residents, as officials expect floodwaters to overrun several bridges. This will cut the county almost in two, leaving only one highway open during the expected crest.
Georgetown county administrator Sel Hemingway said people in flood-prone areas need to prepare to flee, saying “We highly encourage you to seek shelter if you see water levels rising and threatening your particular location.”
While the torrent made a slow but steady path down the Lumber, Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, South Carolina officials were able to anticipate its effects and have released detailed maps on the probable locations of floods. In Horry County, flooding has affected almost 1,000 homes near Conway as the Waccamaw River swelled and topped the previous record level set during 2016’s Hurricane Matthew.
In Georgetown County, the area was placed under hurricane warnings for many days before Hurricane Florence touched land about 110 miles up the coast in North Carolina.
Up Front Street, the business district was bustling, not because of people going about and doing what they usually do, but because they’re leaving. The sidewalks were filled with piles of artwork, antiques and other items their owners are attempting to save by taking them to higher ground.
An empty truck from a department store that’s usually utilized to stock stores was quickly filled as employees rushed to load it with items. While the store has never had a history of being flooded, experts are predicting up to 5 feet of water in the next couple of days.
“If water levels [reach] levels depicted in DNR models, we will lose access to Highway 17 in the north,” Hemingway said.
In response, Georgetown has placed ambulances and firetrucks on standby along its beaches in preparation for the flood and in case bridges are cut off on Highway 17. Aside from this, National Guard troops have also set logistical equipment to facilitate delivery of essential supplies across the river if needed.
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