Georgetown County officials are continuing to urge residents in or near flood-prone areas to consider evacuating prior to flooding after Hurricane Florence.
Randy Akers, spokesman for the county, said county emergency officials expect to see minor flooding begin sometime on Tuesday, Sept. 25, with maximum flooding occurring sometime next weekend, Sept. 28 or 29, when the rivers are at their highest levels. He said people should refer to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Flood Approximations Map available on the county's website, www.gtcounty.gov, to determine the risk of flooding associated with their area.
"We want to reiterate that, based on current projections, this will be an event unlike any we’ve seen before," Akers said. "In some areas, this event will be worse than the '1,000-year floods' of 2015. Because of that, we are urging any resident who is anywhere near a flood zone to consider evacuation."
He said the county is strongly urging residents in flood zones to evacuate beginning Monday, Sept. 24, and for residents who are near flood zones to consider evacuation Monday as well.
"Areas that have never flooded before may flood during this event," Akers said. "Areas that do not flood may become isolated due to road conditions, and emergency vehicles/first responders may not be able to reach un-flooded areas if roads become flooded."
He said he would also like to remind the public to never drive through flooded roadways for several reasons.
"You never know how deep the water is or what the condition of the roadway underneath the water is," Akers said. "It takes just 1 foot of water to float a small car, and 2-3 feet of water to float most SUVs.
"No. 2, driving through flooded roads will cause wakes that could get inside people’s homes and businesses.
"No. 3, as mentioned above, first responders may not be able to traverse flooded roadways. If you drive into a flooded roadway, you do so with the knowledge that you may be taking your life into your own hands."
Akers said people who need to park their cars away from flood areas can do so at the Village Shops in Pawleys Island.
"They have asked us to share that they will make parking in the rear and at the side of their facility, as well as at the Masonic Lodge behind the shops, available for people in flooding areas to leave vehicles," Akers said. "They are generously offering their space for free. Anyone interested is asked to pick up a windshield pass at Tidelife Vacation Rentals, located in the Village Shops, or call Jill at 843-543-0180.
Georgetown County will open emergency shelters at 7 a.m. Monday at the following locations:
- Georgetown High School, 2500 Anthuan Maybank Drive, Georgetown
- Waccamaw Middle School, 247 Wildcat Way, Pawleys Island
For those who would prefer to look for rental accommodations, hotels and vacation homes on the Waccamaw Neck and in the Myrtle Beach area are outside the flood zone and open for business. Additionally, some are offering discounts for evacuees, Akers said.
Georgetown County will keep the public updated as the situation evolves via its website, www.gtcounty.org, and social media accounts (@GtCountySc and @GCEMD). Additionally, Georgetown County Emergency Management’s 24-hour disaster call center has been activated to help residents get answers to their storm-related questions. The center number is 843-545-3273.