Just when everyone thought that they might be able to draw a deep breath after Hurricane Florence did far less damage than originally expected, many homeowners are now discovering that homes that have not flooded since before the American Revolution may become flooded as five rivers within North and South Carolina may reach record levels. A tropical low-pressure system sitting about 300 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, may bring even more rain to the area starting this weekend.
Rain is expected to start falling on September 25, 2018, and it will likely continue through the weekend. Even without any additional rainfall, flooding on the Great Pee Dee River, the Waccamaw River and the Sampit River have emergency officials very concerned. Compounding the problem, there is a full moon that can make rivers raise even higher if record rainfall hits during high tide. Officials think the worse flooding will occur Wednesday night and Thursday morning as water from Hurricane Florence combines with the new rainfall.
In preparation for what could be catastrophic flooding, the South Carolina National Guard built a floating ribbon bridge where the Sampit River and the Great Pee Dee River meet that will allow them to move relief supplies and heavy equipment into the area quickly if there is a need. Officials say in Florence County, South Carolina, approximately 10,000 residents have been asked to evacuate. Officials have warned residents that they have no previous event, including Hurricane Matthew, to compare the current situation to, so they are at a loss when predicting exactly what to expect.
Meanwhile, in Georgetown County that is located about 55 miles downstream from Florence County all area schools have closed until after the storm. Two of the schools have been set up as emergency shelters that will accept pets if residents have nowhere else to go before the water hits.
Lee Gantt who lives in a home in Georgetown, South Carolina, says she will spend Tuesday and Wednesday nights with sandbags. The home that she lives in was built in 1737, and there are no records of it ever flooding. Yet, she says that she and other nearby residents are very concerned about what will happen to the historic homes if the area near the Sampit River floods.
While officials are warning residents to leave, many are choosing to stay behind. Therefore, county officials have said that they will not be providing emergency services if the storm waters rise too high.