Evacuations are being encouraged in parts of Charleston and Georgetown counties for those who live along creeks or rivers that could see record floodwaters migrating downstream from the Midlands.
Residents west of Charleston who live in the floodplains along the Edisto River near Jacksonboro and Adams Run, as well as those northeast of the Holy City who live along the Santee River in Germantown and South Santee, are being told to evacuate before anticipated flooding Friday morning.
Residents in the remote Berkeley County community of Jamestown were preparing for flooding on Thursday. Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler said a Red Cross shelter will be opened on Friday for residents in the Jamestown area and those living along the creeks off of the Santee River, as the Santee River near Jamestown is expected to hit Major Flood Stage above 22 feet overnight Friday.
In Georgetown County, Emergency Management Director Sam Hodge said officials are mostly concerned with the Black River, Pee Dee River, and Mingo Creek areas. “The key thing to remember is this is not a tsunami-type event,” he said in a message to residents. “There’s not a 40-foot wall of water that’s going to come through. This is a slow-rising river. So, if you live in those areas and you feel at all threatened by the flood, we ask that you evacuate.”
Residents in the Oatlands and Dunbar communities north of Georgetown itself are being urged to evacuate. However, Hodge said those evacuations do not extend to the cities of Georgetown and Pawleys Island at this time, despite some rumors to the contrary.
Gov. Nikki Haley gave a more urgent message to residents in Georgetown County, telling them to prepare for an evacuation now in case one is ordered at some point. “I know that this is your property and this is your home, but this is your life,” she said in a press conference Thursday. “And we want you to be very conscious of the fact that we are trying to save it.”
Haley warned floods could remain in the Georgetown area for “up to 12 days.”
On Wednesday, flooding along the Black River damaged homes north of Andrews. Residents in the area have already been hit by several floods in the past week, first from the outer edges of Hurricane Joaquin, then again as receding floodwaters from further upstate made their way downstream.
Rod Stalvey of Georgetown affiliate WGTN reports a Santee Cooper power substation near Andrews sustained flood damage Thursday. Stalvey also reported floodwaters had caused some grave vaults in at least one Georgetown cemetery to rise from the ground. “It looks like three or four are popping up out of the ground,” he told South Carolina Radio Network.